/ Free speech yet again

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Coel Hellier - on 11:02 Wed

Part 1:  As of today it is illegal to click on, even once, "information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. 

Note how broadly drawn this is.   One terrorist method is to hire a van and drive it into pedestrians.  So information on how to hire a van would be "useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism" wouldn't it? So clicking on the web-page of a van-hire company could now be construed as illegal. 

Of course we're told: "Security officials have told The Independent that discretion will be exercised ...".  So we have the modern fashion of ludicrously broad laws accompanied by "trust us to use them sensibly". 

But the police, prosecutors and magistrates have proven that they cannot be trusted to use such laws sensibly!  We've had the ludicrous, arbitrary and capricious quoting-rap-lyrics conviction, and many other ludicrous convictions justified by "it's in the letter of the law so we have to apply it".

Well I've clicked on ISIS propaganda, such as the Dabiq magazine, partly out of curiosity and partly to try to understand them.   So I guess that makes me a criminal now.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/terrorist-propaganda-website-online-prison-sentence-uk-isis-a8776226.html

Part 2: The police have invented a new way of criminalising speech. 

"The police clampdown reveals the increasing use of administrative sanctions as a means of bypassing the judicial process. The injunctions against Skengdo and AM were imposed through a criminal behaviour order (CBO), the updated version of the antisocial behaviour orders, or Asbos, introduced in 1998 by Tony Blair’s Labour government. Skengdo and AM were served with an injunction without having been convicted of a crime. Breaking the injunction is a criminal offence. They’ve been criminalised for making violent music without having been convicted of any offence of violence."

https://kenanmalik.com/2019/02/11/doing-violence-to-our-rights/

Part 3: "Mother, 38, is arrested in front of her children and locked in a cell for seven HOURS after calling a transgender woman a man on Twitter"

Should they really be policing such interactions on social media? I hope the police have a spectacularly good justification for doing this, that the Daily Mail is not owning up to.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6687123/Mother-arrested-children-calling-transgender-woman-man.html

Part 4: "In one of the strangest and most terrifying news items I’ve seen in recent years, a docker from Humberside in Northern England was informed by police that had become the subject of a formal investigation after he retweeted a limerick making fun of transgenderism which apparently included the (undeniably true) lines, “Your breasts are made of silicone, your vagina goes nowhere.”  This retweet, 53-year-old Harry Miller was told by a police officer, was a “hate incident” against the transgender community."

No it isn't. Whether you agree with the opinion expressed or not, it is surely an opinion that it should be legitimate to hold and express in a free society?

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/police-investigate-uk-man-for-retweeting-poem-mocking-men-who-say-theyre-wo

Perhaps worst of all, large numbers of people don't seem to care that we're gradually moving to a culture where the police can harass people or criminalise them merely for holding and expressing opinions that are different from the approved line.

Canada is leading the way:

Part 5: "How Social Justice Ideologues Hijacked a Legal Regulator"

https://quillette.com/2019/02/11/how-social-justice-ideologues-hijacked-a-legal-regulator/

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subtle on 11:16 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

We await the indignation you will come forth with after your arrest with interest.

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Timmd on 11:27 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Blimey. That's taking some processing and mulling over, the gravity of it. 

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The Wild Scallion on 11:33 Wed
In reply to subtle:

It's a beautiful old world ......

I'm now scared because I've read the whole post. 

Maybe I'll be OK being as I  didn't click on the links.

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The Lemming - on 11:41 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It's Brexit init.

Nothing is getting airtime at the moment at the expense of one subject matter which means the government can do what it wants while minds are focused elsewhere.

Post edited at 11:41
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Dave Garnett - on 12:05 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So we have the modern fashion of ludicrously broad laws accompanied by "trust us to use them sensibly". 

I'm not saying you aren't raising some legitimate concerns, but there's nothing modern about having laws broad enough to allow room for discretion.  It's very traditional, and the basis of English case law, not to mention 'common sense' policing. 

Post edited at 12:07
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Ramblin dave - on 12:52 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Part 3: "Mother, 38, is arrested in front of her children and locked in a cell for seven HOURS after calling a transgender woman a man on Twitter"

Truly it's a chilling time for civilised intellectual debate if we aren't allowed to *checks notes* deliberately address people from marginalised groups in a way that they find upsetting and offensive.

Post edited at 12:55
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Lord_ash2000 - on 12:53 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

A very dangerous world we're slipping into, freedoms being eroded in the name of saving people from offence.

It is a fine line between stopping genuine abuse and maintaining one's rights to disagree with people and express your dislike for things/philosophies/lifestyles. If your posts are anything to go off, I think we've fallen off that line. 

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dread-i - on 13:00 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Note how broadly drawn this is.   One terrorist method is to hire a van and drive it into pedestrians.  So information on how to hire a van would be "useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism" wouldn't it? So clicking on the web-page of a van-hire company could now be construed as illegal. 

Isn't there the concept of 'mensus rea'. There has to be a context of criminality. Buying a knife from tesco, and carrying it down the street to the car, probably wont get you arrested. The same knife stuck in your sock, whilst walking down the same street, probably would get you arrested.

> Of course we're told: "Security officials have told The Independent that discretion will be exercised ...".  So we have the modern fashion of ludicrously broad laws accompanied by "trust us to use them sensibly". 

Criminal justice act and public order acts have some broad provision, to lock up people with little justification. "Behavior liable to cause offense" for example. 

> Well I've clicked on ISIS propaganda, such as the Dabiq magazine, partly out of curiosity and partly to try to understand them.   So I guess that makes me a criminal now.

If you down load the US Army Field Manuals, they can be considered terrorist manuals, as they show you how to use a gun or crater a runway. Oh, the irony of the US Army being seen as a terrorist publisher.

>They’ve been criminalised for making violent music without having been convicted of any offence of violence."

Would that be a criminal record then?

(sorry)

> Part 3: "Mother, 38, is arrested in front of her children and locked in a cell for seven HOURS after calling a transgender woman a man on Twitter"

"High Court papers obtained by The Mail on Sunday detail how Mrs Scottow is accused of a 'campaign of targeted harassment' against Miss Hayden, allegedly motivated by her 'status as a transgender woman'."

Might be more background than simply saying mr instead of ms.

> Perhaps worst of all, large numbers of people don't seem to care that we're gradually moving to a culture where the police can harass people or criminalize them merely for holding and expressing opinions that are different from the approved line.

I think that people do care, but protesting or affecting a change is hard. If one protests against an anti terror bill, then it singles one out as likely terrorist sympathizer. (Which is also a great way to shut down any discussion.)

Post edited at 13:03
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Eric9Points - on 13:21 Wed
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I'm not saying you aren't raising some legitimate concerns, but there's nothing modern about having laws broad enough to allow room for discretion.  It's very traditional, and the basis of English case law, not to mention 'common sense' policing. 


The Official Secrets Act, which is of WW1 vintage being an excellent example.

Not to say that Coel's points aren't disturbing though.

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Coel Hellier - on 13:22 Wed
In reply to dread-i:

> Isn't there the concept of 'mensus rea'.

There is for some crimes, but not all.  For example, you can't "murder" accidentally. (If it was accidentally then it is manslaughter or not a crime, rather than murder.)

But much of this "hate speech" stuff does not include "mens rea".  For example, take the conviction of the teenager for quoting rap lyrics containing the word "nigga". The teenager had intended the lyrics as a tribute to a boy who had been killed in a car accident.   There was zero intent to cause offence, indeed the very opposite.

The court decided that intent and context was irrelevant, and that all that mattered was that some snivelling little policewoman had  decided she was "offended".

And this being offended was more about that PC woman's personal issues and her self promotion, than anything about the teenager's post. 

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Coel Hellier - on 13:26 Wed
In reply to dread-i:

> Isn't there the concept of 'mensus rea'.

To add: the police definition of a "hate incident" is *not* one where the perpetrator *intends* to target someone owing to race, gender, etc, it is one where "... the victim or anyone else *think* it was motivated by hostility or prejudice ...". 

So the actual mental attitude of the accused person is not the crucial thing. 

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Andy Johnson on 13:41 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Part 1:  As of today it is illegal to click on, even once, "information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. 

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 c3, part 1, chapter 1, section 3 ("Obtaining or viewing material over the internet"), subsection 4:

After subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) The cases in which a person has a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (3) include (but are not limited to) those in which—

(a) at the time of the person’s action or possession the person did not know, and had no reason to believe, that the document or record in question contained, or was likely to contain, information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) the person’s action or possession was for the purposes of—(i) carrying out work as a journalist, or (ii) academic research.”

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/3/pdfs/ukpga_20190003_en.pdf   [my emphasis]

Subsection 3 amends section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which is about "collection of information" and is where the language about "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" comes from. See https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/11/pdfs/ukpga_20000011_en.pdf.

I'm not a lawyer but this stuff seems pretty easy to understand. Subsection 4 of the 2019 act says that if, at the time of accessing a document/webpage/whatever, you don't know and have no reason to believe that it is useful for committing or preparing terrorism, then you have a reasonable excuse under the law. Ditto if you're doing journalism or academic research. This seems like a reasonable safeguard to me.

> Note how broadly drawn this is.   One terrorist method is to hire a van and drive it into pedestrians.  So information on how to hire a van would be "useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism" wouldn't it? So clicking on the web-page of a van-hire company could now be construed as illegal. 

Utterly absurd,. Have you never heard of "faulty generalisation"? The law isn't some blind machine that's ignorant of context - the intent of people is always relevant. If a person was researching how to make explosives then the fact that they also investigated car hire in (say) London might be deemed terrorism-related. If they were merely planning a holiday in London then it clearly wouldn't. There are an almost infinite number of objects (including cars) that can be used to kill people, and information about those objects hasn't suddenly become illegal.

(Also, The Independent is a shadow of its former self and really isn't a reliable source of information.)

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Coel Hellier - on 14:03 Wed
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> I'm not a lawyer but the way I read subsection 4 of the 2019 act is that if, at the time of accessing a document/webpage/whatever, you don't know and have no reason to believe that it is useful for committing or preparing terrorism, then you have a reasonable excuse under the law.

Yes, but there are plenty of things where someone *would* know that it is useful for terrorism, but where it *also* has innocent uses.  Hiring a van for example!  So this safeguard doesn't amount to much.

> Ditto if you're doing journalism or academic research. This seems like a reasonable safeguard to me.

OK, but what about mere curiosity?  What about if you are looking at such stuff for an innocent reason?  

Yes, it then says: "It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had a reasonable excuse ...".

But note that this reverses the burden of proof! If you look at *any* information that could be useful to terrorrists (train schedules for example!)  you now have to *defend* yourself by *proving* that you had a reasonable reason!

> Utterly absurd,. Have you never heard of "faulty generalisation"? The law isn't some blind machine that's ignorant of context - the intent of people is always relevant.

Oh yeah??  Well go and argue that with those who convicted a teenager of a "hate crime" for posting rap lyrics as a tribute.  The court *explicitly* ruled that the context and her intent were irrelevant!  All that mattered was that one person stated that they were offended! 

> If a person was researching how to make explosives then the fact that they also investigated car hire in (say) London might be deemed terrorism-related. If they were merely planning a holiday in London then it clearly wouldn't.

But that's not what the law says!  It does *not* say that there needs to be a pattern of such activity such that a reasonable person would conclude they were planning a terrorist attack. 

>  There are an almost infinite number of objects (including cars) that can be used to kill people, and information about those objects hasn't suddenly become illegal.

Want a bet?  A prosecutor, following the letter of this law, could make a case against you for looking at *any* information "... of a kind likely to be useful" to terrorists. Such as train schedules.  It would then be up to you to prove your reasonable excuse.

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wercat on 14:12 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Part 1:  As of today it is illegal to click on, even once, "information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.

Bloody Hell, I'd better turn myself in after spending too much time on the Arduino website

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wercat on 14:15 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> There is for some crimes, but not all.  For example, you can't "murder" accidentally. (If it was accidentally then it is manslaughter or not a crime, rather than murder.)

Not quite true - there is a legal scenario called "Transferred Malice".

A mistakes B for C and kills him accidentally, intending to kill only C.

A shoots at C and misses, killing C accidentally.

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Andy Johnson on 14:57 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well go and argue that with those who convicted a teenager of a "hate crime" for posting rap lyrics as a tribute. The court *explicitly* ruled that the context and her intent were irrelevant!  All that mattered was that one person stated that they were offended! 

Assuming you mean the Russell case, you might want to have a look at https://kelseyfarish.com/2018/04/22/is-posting-rap-lyrics-on-instagram-a-hatecrime/ - which was written by an actual lawyer. There was more to the case than one person simply being offended.

> If you look at *any* information that could be useful to terrorrists (train schedules for example!)  you now have to *defend* yourself by *proving* that you had a reasonable reason!

Words fail me...

This is getting a bit too weird for me, so I'm out of here. By all means keep at it though.

Post edited at 15:20
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Duncan Bourne - on 15:09 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

cheers Coel I have just clicked on a link to Dabiq magazine. So that makes two of us now.

I did baulk at clicking on the Daily Mail link though. One has standards

Post edited at 15:11
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Coel Hellier - on 15:24 Wed
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> There was more to the case than one person simply being offended.

What, exactly, was there more to the prosecution case than one person being offended? 

Here's the CPS account: https://www.cps.gov.uk/mersey-cheshire/news/teenager-sentenced-racist-instagram-post

Here's the local newspaper  account: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/woman-who-posted-rap-lyrics-14543694

What are you basing your above claim on?

> Words fail me... This is all getting a bit too weird for me ...

I was simply quoting the wording of the new law!   

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wintertree - on 15:31 Wed
In reply to wercat:

> Bloody Hell, I'd better turn myself in after spending too much time on the Arduino website

Back in my yooth, some of the other children were exchanging Amiga floppy disks with all sorts of practical guides on them, cookbooks and that sort of thing.

I only had an Amstrad CPC 464 with a tape drive, so I never did get to learn 101 ways of something of another, or read any exciting cookbooks.

How times have changed!

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Coel Hellier - on 15:37 Wed
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> Assuming you mean the Russell case, you might want to have a look at ... which was written by an actual lawyer.

Note that your "actual lawyer" says that she "would assume" that there was something more to it, perhaps because she herself can't believe that they would have prosecuted otherwise. 

The trouble is, her suggestion that there was more to it is not supported by any actual evidence. 

Here's the quote: "Unfortunately, only limited information is available on Russell’s case, so it is not possible to fully analyse how the Crown determined that it was indeed in the public interest to pursue prosecution. I would assume however that there were some extenuating circumstances. Perhaps Russell had a history of offensive behaviour, or maybe the prosecution proved that the lyrics were intended to cause malicious upset to a grieving family?"

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1philjones1 - on 17:32 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You seem to be,intentionally or otherwise, disregarding that a huge amount of our legislation contains the phrase ‘without lawful authority or reasonable excuse’. This has always been the case and is the same with this. If the law was more specific it would have to cater for all foreseeable eventualities and would be impossible to write.

i guarantee you will not have the Security Services kicking your foot in for going on a van hire website. Unless of course you’re on a watch list because of other intelligence regarding your potential involvement in terrorism.

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Ridge - on 17:58 Wed
In reply to wintertree:

> Back in my yooth, some of the other children were exchanging Amiga floppy disks with all sorts of practical guides on them, cookbooks and that sort of thing.

I certainly carried out a number of er... chemistry experiments as a teenager that would no doubt have a young lad arrested in these more nervous times

> How times have changed!

Indeedy

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Coel Hellier - on 18:02 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> You seem to be,intentionally or otherwise, disregarding that a huge amount of our legislation contains the phrase ‘without lawful authority or reasonable excuse’.

That phrase comes from the law against carrying an offensive weapon in public, such as a knife. 

The problem here is that it is accompanying a very catch-all crime of "collecting information useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism”.  

Again, consulting train timetables would be useful to anyone planning to bomb a train.   

> i guarantee you will not have the Security Services kicking your foot in for going on a van hire website.

Many people would have given guarantees that quoting rap lyrics on your Instagram account was not a criminal offence, and that the authorities would be sensible in their use of such laws.

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1philjones1 - on 18:07 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Two points, then I’ll stop feeding your paranoia:-

It is not just knife crime wording. Have a look at the Theft Act, OAP Act and many more. It’s very common wording.

Secondly, if the lyrics are racist in nature, and posted in a public forum, then prosecution should quite rightly be considered. Your reference to authorities being ‘sensible’ would suggest you think you can be ‘just a little bit racist’

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Sir Chasm - on 18:21 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> Two points, then I’ll stop feeding your paranoia:-

> It is not just knife crime wording. Have a look at the Theft Act, OAP Act and many more. It’s very common wording.

Is it in the legislation Coel has referenced?

> Secondly, if the lyrics are racist in nature, and posted in a public forum, then prosecution should quite rightly be considered. Your reference to authorities being ‘sensible’ would suggest you think you can be ‘just a little bit racist’

Are you saying being racist is something you should be prosecuted for? And that quoting a rapper using the word nigga is worthy of prosecution? Cor!

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1philjones1 - on 18:34 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Is it in the legislation Coel has referenced?

No idea, Im not sufficiently bothered to read the legislation, but it is implicit in much legislation where a defence of ‘criminal’ actions being lawful can be advanced eg assault in self defence.

> Are you saying being racist is something you should be prosecuted for? And that quoting a rapper using the word nigga is worthy of prosecution? Cor!

No- if you want to hold racist views, that is a personal matter. I have no idea what the racist lyrics were, that is why I said prosecution should be ‘considered’

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Sir Chasm - on 18:45 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> No idea, Im not sufficiently bothered to read the legislation, but it is implicit in much legislation where a defence of ‘criminal’ actions being lawful can be advanced eg assault in self defence.

I'm not sure you mean "implicit", but I can't be arsed to read on and find out.

> No- if you want to hold racist views, that is a personal matter. I have no idea what the racist lyrics were, that is why I said prosecution should be ‘considered’

So do some research, it's not a difficult story to find out about, you've got the internet, there's even a link up there ^.

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pasbury on 18:58 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You are cherry picking to serve some weird and poisonous personal agenda.

Post edited at 18:59
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1philjones1 - on 19:08 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

So you can’t be arsed but I have to do research? 

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marsbar - on 19:19 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Possibly something to do with the lyrics not just using the n word but also suggesting killing, if you read your link.  

You didn’t think it worth a mention that the offended woman is a black, and her brother was killed by a pair of racists?  

Cant imagine why she would find it offensive that someone would post “kill a n-word” 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/dec/01/ukcrime.race

Post edited at 19:24
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Coel Hellier - on 19:27 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> Secondly, if the lyrics are racist in nature, and posted in a public forum, then prosecution should quite rightly be considered.

What nonsense.  There is no law against being racist, nor against saying racist things.      If you want such a law then you're against free speech. 

Second, the rap lyrics in question were written by the African-American rapper Snap Dogg.  You can claim that his lyrics are racist if you like (against who, against blacks like himself?).  

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1philjones1 - on 19:31 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the added facts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate.

By the way, I did mean ‘implicit’.

Post edited at 19:33
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Coel Hellier - on 19:32 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

> You didn’t think it worth a mention that the offended woman is a black, and her brother was killed by a pair of racists?  

> Cant imagine why she would find it offensive that someone would post “kill a n-word” 

First, as above, the lyrics were written by a black rapper.  You can call them racist if you like. 

But the black PC who was "offended" was way too cowardly to go after black rappers who use words like "nigga" often, but instead decided to pick on a harmless teenager.

Second, if it is a criminal offence to say anything that one person finds offensive, then we've lost the right of public speech.     

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marsbar - on 19:33 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>The teenager had intended the lyrics as a tribute to a boy who had been killed in a car accident.   There was zero intent to cause offence, indeed the very opposite.

Then the teenager in question needs educating on what is offensive.  Lyrics or not, “kill a nigga” is clearly offensive and not in any way appropriate as a tribute.  

> some snivelling little policewoman had  decided she was "offended".

The sister of a promising 18 year old A Level student killed for no other reason than he was black by an ice axe to the head.  You are twisting things as usual.  

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Coel Hellier - on 19:34 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the additifacts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate.

She not he, but:

Are you really suggesting that we should prosecute all speech that one person finds offensive? 

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1philjones1 - on 19:37 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Any time you want to come and join us in a civilised society, feel free.

There certainly are laws restricting a persons rights to be racist, and quite rightly so.

And I never said the lyrics were racist- I had no idea what was said in them. But mis-quoting seems to be a specialty of yours.

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Coel Hellier - on 19:37 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

> Then the teenager in question needs educating on what is offensive.  Lyrics or not, “kill a nigga” is clearly offensive and not in any way appropriate as a tribute.  

No problem, go and shut down the entire rap industry. 

> The sister of a promising 18 year old A Level student killed for no other reason than he was black by an ice axe to the head.

The application of the law should be disinterested.  If those circumstances are relevant then she, as a policewoman, should have recused herself from involvement in the case. 

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1philjones1 - on 19:38 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I don’t recall saying that. Perhaps you could link the bit where I did?

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off-duty - on 19:39 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Having just glanced at your post, of note 

3 - The arrest was for harassment and related to public posting of private financial and personal information. The trans issue is really being used to stir up comments, it wasn't particularly relevant other than being perhaps the initial motivator of the harassment.

4. A 'hate incident' doesn't actually mean anything particularly. It's not a hate crime and won't involve a prosecution or penalty.

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marsbar - on 19:40 Wed
In reply to Ramblin dave

> Truly it's a chilling time for civilised intellectual debate if we aren't allowed to *checks notes* deliberately address people from marginalised groups in a way that they find upsetting and offensive.

Not to mention that she set up fake accounts and according even to the daily hate mail orchestrated a campaign of harassment against the (trans) woman.  

Even the Sun thinks it’s out of order!

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Coel Hellier - on 19:40 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> Any time you want to come and join us in a civilised society, feel free.

Says you, advocating a fascist police state.

> But mis-quoting seems to be a specialty of yours.

Point to one place where I have misquoted anything.

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Coel Hellier - on 19:41 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> I don’t recall saying that. Perhaps you could link the bit where I did?

Saying what?

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Sir Chasm - on 19:43 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the added facts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate.

Why? Why should you be prosecuted for quoting lyrics?

> By the way, I did mean ‘implicit’.

Really? So some legislation specifically states "without lawful authority or reasonable excuse" and you think that means it's implicit in legislation that doesn't state it?

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marsbar - on 19:44 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

She is permitted to report this as is any other member of the public.  

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1philjones1 - on 19:48 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

If you can show that you have lawful authority, or reasonable excuse, to have committed certain actions which are criminalised, the actions can be lawful. 

So, another example to the one I’ve quoted above, if you are charged with theft, but can show an honestly held belief that you had a right to take the property, it is a defence in law. 

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marsbar - on 19:51 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I’d happily shut down certain rappers.  Ridiculous idiots.  Glamourising violence for money so they can pretend to be still in touch with the common people.  Presumably the idiot rapper in question is in America.  We have slightly higher standards over here.  Our police don’t generally shoot sleeping black men for example and our children go to school without worrying about being shot.  Using the N word in a public Instagram post in the context of robbing and killing is illegal in this country.  Teenagers are taught at school that posting offensive content online has consequences.  As you well know freedom of speech isn’t about freedom to be offensive on the internet.  

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1philjones1 - on 19:51 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Says you, advocating a fascist police state.

> Point to one place where I have misquoted anything.

I really can’t believe you’re stupid enough to misquote me, and then, in the point below it, ask to me to evidence that you have misquoted me! But thanks, it makes it much easier.

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Coel Hellier - on 19:54 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

> She is permitted to report this as is any other member of the public.  

But if she is the "offended member of the public", should she also be the police officer deciding whether to send a file to the public prosecutor?

Surely, if she was offended, she should have recognised her "interest", recused herself from the case, and let others in the police make the decisions. 

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1philjones1 - on 19:55 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Saying what?

‘Are you really suggesting that we should prosecute all speech that one person finds offensive? ‘

^ that

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Coel Hellier - on 19:56 Wed
In reply to 1philjones1:

> I really can’t believe you’re stupid enough to misquote me, and then, in the point below it, ask to me to evidence that you have misquoted me! But thanks, it makes it much easier.

But you haven't pointed to where I misquote you, have you?

Do you know what "quote" and "misquote" mean?

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Coel Hellier - on 19:58 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

>  As you well know freedom of speech isn’t about freedom to be offensive on the internet.  

Oh yes it is, that's exactly what it is about!

Inoffensive speech does not need any free-speech protections because no-one objects to it.

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RomTheBear on 20:00 Wed
In reply to The Lemming:

N

> It's Brexit init.

> Nothing is getting airtime at the moment at the expense of one subject matter which means the government can do what it wants while minds are focused elsewhere.

not to mention, Brexit comes with even more powers to the executive.

Post edited at 20:00
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Sir Chasm - on 20:01 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

I'm grossly offended by your suggestion that we have higher standards than the Americans, it's racist, so you're a racist. The police will be knocking on your door soon.

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marsbar - on 20:33 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Good luck with that.  Last time I called them there was a drunk driver still on scene.  They didn't have any one free to attend.  

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pavelk - on 20:38 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

As someone who remembers the Communist dictatorship I am following the current trend with increasing concern. Though I don´t think Britain (or Czechia) is becoming totalitarian state like Czechoslovakia was, ways of limititing free speech are quite similar now to how it was done in Communist Czechoslovakia. Although there was official censorship, ordinary people were usually punished under vague declared laws asit happenes now. It gave repressive forces enough room to punish anyone they choose.

You have Hate speech or counterterrorism laws now, we had Public Nuisance and Subversion of the Republic in the old days

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Jon Stewart - on 20:46 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Part 4: "In one of the strangest and most terrifying news items I’ve seen in recent years, a docker from Humberside in Northern England was informed by police that had become the subject of a formal investigation after he retweeted a limerick making fun of transgenderism which apparently included the (undeniably true) lines, “Your breasts are made of silicone, your vagina goes nowhere.”  This retweet, 53-year-old Harry Miller was told by a police officer, was a “hate incident” against the transgender community."

> No it isn't. Whether you agree with the opinion expressed or not, it is surely an opinion that it should be legitimate to hold and express in a free society?

I think you've misjudged this, somewhat.

You paint the tweet as a "legitimate opinion" that we should all be free to express, when it was clearly public transphobic abuse exactly analogous to racist abuse. I don't think sending an abusive tweets should be a criminal act (it isn't and wasn't treated as such) and I think police involvement is way over the top. So I agree with you there.

But I am not stepping in to defend the freedom for people to post abusive tweets towards trans people, any more than I'd step in to defend the freedom of racists to write "pakis go home" on the wall opposite my neighbour's door. Is that a legitimate opinion? All they're saying is that we have too open an immigration policy towards people from the Indian subcontinent, aren't they? That's legitimate. 

Ah yes, but it's phrased in an abusive way, isn't it? The language seems to have the intention to express hatred and to intimidate the Asian people it's talking about. So really, it's not a "legitimate opinion", it's racist abuse, and actually, we'd probably not be that surprised if the police had a word.

Sounds to me like ridiculing the very existence of trans women in a rhyme is more like abuse than a legitimate opinion. I would expect that something like this should be just taken down by Twitter for breaking their guidelines, just as if there was racist or homophobic abuse. I think it should be for Twitter to make reasonable rules about what they consider to be a "legitimate opinion" that they'll publish, and what they consider to be abuse. Anyone who wants to make some political argument about trans people (which this isn't) in a public medium should begin by not making their argument in an abusive rhyme - that's not an infringement of their rights.

I would agree that there should be no involvement from the police here unless it's part of some sustained harassment - but the fact that you've failed to recognise that it's abuse and labelled it as "legitimate opinion" that should be defended is a bit depressing.

Post edited at 20:49
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Coel Hellier - on 21:27 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> but the fact that you've failed to recognise that it's abuse and labelled it as "legitimate opinion" that should be defended is a bit depressing.

By "legitimate opinion" I mean one that it should be legal to hold and express. The poem is political, and is clearly a reply to the fairly activist and ideological claims being made by some trans people (e.g. "trans women are as much women as any other woman").  

I wouldn't express things the way that poem does, but it seems to me within the bounds of normal debate.   The tone is no worse than, for example, the routine commentary by politicians on their opponents. The mockery is no worse than, say, political cartoons. 

As for posting it on Twitter, well, one only sees things on Twitter if they're posted by someone you follow, or re-tweeted or "liked" by someone you follow -- or if someone tags you in.    In this case, there is no suggestion that the person tagged in anyone he wanted to offend, all he did was retweet it, so that it would only be seen by people who had chosen to "follow" him.   In which case I don't see a problem. 

People can choose who to follow, and can simply not include people who express such opinions (and can unfollow or block people if they wish).

> any more than I'd step in to defend the freedom of racists to write "pakis go home" on the wall opposite my neighbour's door.

In that case, passers by would see the graffiti, and people living there would have no choice but to see it.   That seems pretty different from social media where you only see tweets of those who you choose to follow. 

> I think it should be for Twitter to make reasonable rules about what they consider to be a "legitimate opinion" that they'll publish, and what they consider to be abuse.

Whether Twitter should curate content, or just be a free-speech platform, is an interesting issue, but anyway the point here is that the police should certainly not have got involved.

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off-duty - on 21:39 Wed
In reply to pavelk:

> As someone who remembers the Communist dictatorship I am following the current trend with increasing concern. Though I don´t think Britain (or Czechia) is becoming totalitarian state like Czechoslovakia was, ways of limititing free speech are quite similar now to how it was done in Communist Czechoslovakia. Although there was official censorship, ordinary people were usually punished under vague declared laws asit happenes now. It gave repressive forces enough room to punish anyone they choose.

> You have Hate speech or counterterrorism laws now, we had Public Nuisance and Subversion of the Republic in the old days

With the obvious difference that you can say pretty much whatever you want against the state or the government, it's when you start being grossly offensive and abusive to other people that the law seems to kick in.

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Mr Lopez - on 21:43 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> By "legitimate opinion" I mean one that it should be legal to hold and express. The poem is political, and is clearly a reply to the fairly activist and ideological claims being made by some trans people (e.g. "trans women are as much women as any other woman").  

Just for the benefit of the people who have not read the link, here's is the "political poem within the bounds of normal debate" according to Mr Hellier.

You're a man. 

Your breasts are made of silicone 

Your vagina goes nowhere 

And we can tell the difference 

Even when you are not there 

Your hormones are synthetic 

And lets just cross this bridge 

What you have you stupid man 

Is male privilege.

You’re a man, you’re a man 

We can say it, yes we can 

That you’ll never be a woman 

Even if that is your plan 

Every cell is coded male 

From your birth until the grave 

You are simply a man 

Neither stunning nor brave

Your penis isn’t womanly 

Your wig is poorly made 

Your idea of womanhood 

Just doesn’t make the grade 

You think we are just caricatures 

Or porn tropes for your use 

You pretend that you can be us 

But it’s merely more abuse

Your great big hands and manly head 

Are difficult to hide 

A hand in front of Adam’s fruit 

Proof does not provide 

That you have changed your actual sex 

Because your brain is pink 

It’s laughable to those of us 

Who can actually think.

Slow clap Coel, slow clap...

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Sir Chasm - on 21:49 Wed
In reply to Mr Lopez:

> Just for the benefit of the people who have not read the link, here's is the "political poem within the bounds of normal debate" according to Mr Hellier.

> You're a man. 

> Your breasts are made of silicone 

> Your vagina goes nowhere 

> And we can tell the difference 

> Even when you are not there 

> Your hormones are synthetic 

> And lets just cross this bridge 

> What you have you stupid man 

> Is male privilege.

> You’re a man, you’re a man 

> We can say it, yes we can 

> That you’ll never be a woman 

> Even if that is your plan 

> Every cell is coded male 

> From your birth until the grave 

> You are simply a man 

> Neither stunning nor brave

> Your penis isn’t womanly 

> Your wig is poorly made 

> Your idea of womanhood 

> Just doesn’t make the grade 

> You think we are just caricatures 

> Or porn tropes for your use 

> You pretend that you can be us 

> But it’s merely more abuse

> Your great big hands and manly head 

> Are difficult to hide 

> A hand in front of Adam’s fruit 

> Proof does not provide 

> That you have changed your actual sex 

> Because your brain is pink 

> It’s laughable to those of us 

> Who can actually think.

> Slow clap Coel, slow clap...

So what? Do you think posting that should be a crime?

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off-duty - on 21:50 Wed
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> So what? Do you think posting that should be a crime?

It wasn't.

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Sir Chasm - on 21:58 Wed
In reply to off-duty:

> It wasn't.

Read what I asked.

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Jon Stewart - on 22:01 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> By "legitimate opinion" I mean one that it should be legal to hold and express. The poem is political, and is clearly a reply to the fairly activist and ideological claims being made by some trans people (e.g. "trans women are as much women as any other woman").  

When I read it, it seems like unmitigated abuse towards trans women. In the context of being re-tweeted by "a hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football", are you actually telling me that you honestly believe this is expressing a feminist political argument, rather than being posted as abuse towards trans women? We both know that it started off as abusive from a feminist perspective, and has been retweeted because it's abusive rather than for its feminist conceptual content.

I can't engage with what you're saying if it's not credible and sincerely held.

> I wouldn't express things the way that poem does, but it seems to me within the bounds of normal debate.   The tone is no worse than, for example, the routine commentary by politicians on their opponents. The mockery is no worse than, say, political cartoons. 

You fail to see the difference between mocking trans people for being trans, and mocking political views. Would you step in to defend the mockery of an ethnic minority or homosexuals in this way?

> As for posting it on Twitter, well, one only sees things on Twitter if they're posted by someone you follow

So is your argument

1. that Twitter should be a platform on which one should be able to post abusive content, such as racist abuse and this rhyme, with impunity, because to take down abusive material is an infringement of freedom of speech

or 

2. that Twitter should not be a platform for racist abuse, but this rhyme should be allowed because it isn't abuse, it's a legitimate feminist argument

As I said, 2 is not credible, it's obviously abuse (it was abusive coming from a feminist, but it's now been stripped of its feminist credentials so it's *just* abuse). Are you  going to step in and defend the rights of racists to post racist abuse on Twitter?

> Whether Twitter should curate content, or just be a free-speech platform, is an interesting issue, but anyway the point here is that the police should certainly not have got involved.

We agree on that latter point, the point of discussion is whether free speech e.g. on Twitter is bounded by some judgement of decency (e.g. disallowing racist and transphobic abuse) or whether it's absolute. 

Is there a boundary? Where should it lie? Who gets to make the rules?

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off-duty - on 22:12 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When I read it, it seems like unmitigated abuse towards trans women. In the context of being re-tweeted by "a hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football".....

> Is there a boundary? Where should it lie? Who gets to make the rules?

At the risk of being accused of stereotyping, I wonder what the feedback would be if the police action had been delivered in the language of the "hairy-a***ed" football crowd...

"Mate, you're being a f**king prick, wind your neck in and stop being a d**khead"

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marsbar - on 22:12 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Freedom of speech is about being free to criticise the authorities, the government and so on.  It isn’t freedom to spout racism or homophobia or transphobia etc in public.  

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marsbar - on 22:13 Wed
In reply to off-duty:

> "Mate, you're being a f**king prick, wind your neck in and stop being a d**khead"

Works for me.  

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MG - on 22:20 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

That's not correct. FoS can be about those things, and often is. The trouble is everyone (even Coel, I believe) agrees there should be limits to FoS, just not on where they should be. 

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Coel Hellier - on 22:24 Wed
In reply to marsbar:

> Freedom of speech is about being free to criticise the authorities, the government and so on.  It isn’t freedom to spout racism or homophobia or transphobia etc in public. 

Freedom of speech is not just about criticising "authorities, the government and so on", it would also include criticising  companies, religions, ideologies, and lots of other things. 

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Coel Hellier - on 22:34 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> are you actually telling me that you honestly believe this is expressing a feminist political argument, rather than being posted as abuse towards trans women?

Or both?  Those are not mutually exclusive.   Do I think it was written to express a feminist political argument? Yes, quite likely it was.   The writer ( https://twitter.com/EllieRestless ) has protected her Tweets so I can't really check her out, but, yes, plenty of people think that way and consider that it's a legitimate opinion to hold.

> We both know that it started off as abusive from a feminist perspective, and has been retweeted because it's abusive rather than for its feminist conceptual content.

No, we don't both "know" that.

> You fail to see the difference between mocking trans people for being trans, and mocking political views.

It is mocking, if anything, a particular version of trans ideology that is being pushed by trans activists.  So, in essence, it is mocking a political view.

> 2. that Twitter should not be a platform for racist abuse, but this rhyme should be allowed because it isn't abuse, it's a legitimate feminist argument

Yes, I consider this poem to be within the bounds of normal debate and a legitimate feminist argument. 

(The issue of whether Twitter needs to allow it is rather a different one, though I'm happy to go into that if people want; at the moment I'm concentrating on whether the police should take an interest.)

> As I said, 2 is not credible, it's obviously abuse ...

Whether it is "abuse" and "offensive" is not that interesting to me. People can get offended at all sorts of things.  Regardless of whether it is "abusive", it's a viewpoint advanced honestly by people who should be allowed to hold that view.

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bouldery bits - on 22:41 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It's really weird all these people thinking being able to say whatever they want on twitter twitter is some sort of human right. It ain't. It's twitter. Who the heck cares?

Turn it off. Go outside. 

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Jon Stewart - on 23:02 Wed
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Or both?  Those are not mutually exclusive.   Do I think it was written to express a feminist political argument? Yes, quite likely it was.   The writer ( https://twitter.com/EllieRestless ) has protected her Tweets so I can't really check her out, but, yes, plenty of people think that way and consider that it's a legitimate opinion to hold.

As I said, it was abusive when it came from a feminist (and in the case we're discussing, it didn't).

So back to the issue about racist abuse. If I say "Pakis go home" on here, or on Twitter, is that a legitimate political opinion about immigration, expressed in uncouth and insensitive language, but none the less a legitimate political opinion which should be defended? Or does it transgress some boundary to freedom of speech?

Because some abusive speech has behind it a political viewpoint, does that legitimitise it as needing protection? I think that's what you're arguing.

> No, we don't both "know" that.

Again, in the context of being re-tweeted by "a hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football", are you actually telling me that you honestly believe this is expressing a feminist political argument, rather than being posted as abuse towards trans women?

It's a fair yes or no question.

> It is mocking, if anything, a particular version of trans ideology that is being pushed by trans activists.  So, in essence, it is mocking a political view.

> Yes, I consider this poem to be within the bounds of normal debate and a legitimate feminist argument. 

Are you shifting the goalposts to talk about EllieRestless tweeting this, or are you defending the ridiculous position that Harry Miller posted the rhyme because he's a radical feminist?

As I said, it's impossible to engage with a position that isn't sincere.

> (The issue of whether Twitter needs to allow it is rather a different one, though I'm happy to go into that if people want; at the moment I'm concentrating on whether the police should take an interest.)

There's nothing to discuss on the police issue. No one thinks it should be a crime, and it isn't, so we can lay that to rest, again.

> Whether it is "abuse" and "offensive" is not that interesting to me. People can get offended at all sorts of things.  Regardless of whether it is "abusive", it's a viewpoint advanced honestly by people who should be allowed to hold that view.

Perhaps it's "not that interesting" because it's difficult and it tests the boundaries of free speech. We've established social norms around racial abuse that puts it outside the limits of legitimate "political argument" - and we all feel a responsibility to recognise and respect that boundary. It's self-enforcing. Publish racial abuse and you'll be ostracised at best - regardless of whether it has a political angle mixed into the hatred. But you seem to be advocating for an inconsistent position in which you're happy for racist abuse to be taboo (whether or not it's linked to a political argument), but transphobic abuse should be viewed as legitimate, if (and only if?) it can be linked to a political argument.

Aside from the lack of sincerity, I also can't see any clarity or consistency.

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Coel Hellier - on 07:30 Thu
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> So back to the issue about racist abuse. If I say "Pakis go home" on here, or on Twitter, is that a legitimate political opinion about immigration, ...

Should it be a crime to say it on the internet? No.

Should UKC be required to let you say it on their platform? No.

Should you be allowed to approach someone in the street and yell it at them, or write it as graffiti on walls? No.

> Again, in the context of being re-tweeted by "a hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football", are you actually telling me that you honestly believe this is expressing a feminist political argument, rather than being posted as abuse towards trans women?

I don't know the person, so can only go on what is in the report.  So my answer is, quite likely, "yes".  Being a "hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football" doesn't mean you lose the right to have political opinions.

The report quotes him: "I have a wife, a mother and daughters, and when it comes to their rights and safety and those of women everywhere, men need to speak up…I can’t believe what is happening in the UK in the name of transgenderism and, worse still, we’re not even allowed to think never mind talk about it."

If anyone thinks that man is not allowed to hold that opinion, or that the poem is outside acceptable debate, then they're saying we all must submit to the approved ideology without even questioning it.

> Perhaps it's "not that interesting" because it's difficult and it tests the boundaries of free speech.

To me whether something is "offensive" is *not* linked to the boundaries of free speech. We all need to chill out a bit and accept that plenty of people in society will hold and express views that we strongly dislike, and can find offensive.  That's just normal and inevitable, and accepting that is part of living in a free society. 

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marsbar - on 07:54 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

That's your opinion and you are entitled to it.  

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1philjones1 - on 09:03 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But you haven't pointed to where I misquote you, have you?

> Do you know what "quote" and "misquote" mean?

You stayed that I was advocating a ‘facist police state’ in my posts. I wasn’t.

Youre either misquoting/misrepresenting what I said or you’re a liar.

You decide which. I really don’t care.

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Coel Hellier - on 09:26 Thu
In reply to 1philjones1:

> You stayed that I was advocating a ‘facist police state’ in my posts. I wasn’t.

That was: (1) after you'd accused me of misquoting (which you haven't yet substantiated), and (2) in response to your deliberately obnoxious comment:

You: Any time you want to come and join us in a civilised society, feel free.

Me: Says you, advocating a fascist police state.

(Yes, it was rethorical exaggeration, but fair enough in context.)

>  Youre either misquoting/misrepresenting what I said or you’re a liar. You decide which. I really don’t care.

So you make an accusation of misquoting, and then don't care whether it is true?

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Coel Hellier - on 09:34 Thu
In reply to 1philjones1:

And on that "fascist police state" remark.  

You were quite explicitly supporting a prosecution for posting rap lyrics online, by which one policewoman decided that she was "offended", and the teenager was convicted simply for posting lyrics that one policewoman regarded as offensive.

A state where the police can lock you up just because they don't like what you are saying is pretty much the definition of a "fascist police state".

Arbitrary and capricous prosecutions (there were literally thousands of other instances of the word on the internet that same week) are another hallmark of a fascist police state.

Edit to add: the fact that the policewoman was acting BOTH as the "offended party" AND the prosecuting officer is another hallmark of a police state.  That's a clear conflict of interest. 

So yes it was rethorical exaggeration, but fair enough in context.

Post edited at 09:38
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1philjones1 - on 10:49 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

No, it was not fair enough in context.

I was quite explicit that I had no knowledge of the content of the message. The fact that it was rapper’s words is completely irrelevant. And I did not support prosecution, without knowing the content. I said it should be considered.

So there you go again, misrepresenting what I said because it suits your argument. 

In relation to your ‘edit’- the police officer is not the prosecuting agency and does not make decisions as the prosecution. That is the job of the CPS and has been for about 4 decades. But that again doesn’t suit your argument, so you just make it up and represent it as the truth.That is not free speech, it’s peddling inflammatory lies.

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off-duty - on 11:06 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> To me whether something is "offensive" is *not* linked to the boundaries of free speech. We all need to chill out a bit and accept that plenty of people in society will hold and express views that we strongly dislike, and can find offensive.  That's just normal and inevitable, and accepting that is part of living in a free society. 

I generally agree, however that's assuming that everyone has the same level of robustness, tolerance and (though I'm not keen on the term) privilege.

Where it falls down is where minorities and vulnerable groups are forced to endure "free speech" because, hey, it's a free society. And it might be hateful, hurtful and provide a culture of acceptance and normalisation of abuse, but "free speech".

The limits of free speech are interesting, I think the view that inevitably the intolerant abuse the privilege provided to them by the tolerant is played out on the streets and in social media regularly. 

What's impressive is when people in public positions take actions that can't easily be dismissed as "virtue signalling"  like Joe Root being captured on pitch mikes calmly calling out the homophobic comments made by Shannon Gabriel in the West Indies test.

On a side note, regarding the rap lyrics posted on Instagram and prosecuted on the back of the Merseyside officer in a specialist hate crime unit viewing them and finding them offensive I do find worrying as I said at the time. Though I note that wasn't in your OP.

Post edited at 11:07
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off-duty - on 11:19 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Should it be a crime to say it on the internet? No.

> Should UKC be required to let you say it on their platform? No.

> Should you be allowed to approach someone in the street and yell it at them, or write it as graffiti on walls? No.

> I don't know the person, so can only go on what is in the report.  So my answer is, quite likely, "yes".  Being a "hairy-a***ed docker who swears, drinks and watched football" doesn't mean you lose the right to have political opinions.

> The report quotes him: "I have a wife, a mother and daughters, and when it comes to their rights and safety and those of women everywhere, men need to speak up…I can’t believe what is happening in the UK in the name of transgenderism and, worse still, we’re not even allowed to think never mind talk about it."

> If anyone thinks that man is not allowed to hold that opinion, or that the poem is outside acceptable debate, then they're saying we all must submit to the approved ideology without even questioning it.

It wasn't a crime. It was however pretty f**king nasty, and doesn't really take the debate forward, assuming that's what the "hairy a**ed docker" was intending (LOL).

Should the police have got involved? Potentially not, however a complaint had been made, he seems to have been pretty easily identifiable, and had he been singing that in the street I would not consider it unreasonable to "have a word".

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Sir Chasm - on 11:32 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

But he wasn't singing it in the street and we seem to be in agreement that no crime was committed. So perhaps there shouldn't have been any police involvement, other than telling any complainant to take it up with twitter.

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off-duty - on 11:36 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> But he wasn't singing it in the street and we seem to be in agreement that no crime was committed. So perhaps there shouldn't have been any police involvement, other than telling any complainant to take it up with twitter.

Perhaps. Or perhaps we would prefer our society to be governed by norms that aren't regulated by a private social media company, based in the US and ultimately answerable to different laws and standards of free speech 

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Sir Chasm - on 11:38 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> Perhaps. Or perhaps we would prefer our society to be governed by norms that aren't regulated by a private social media company, based in the US and ultimately answerable to different laws and standards of free speech 

Eh? The police should police twitter for things that you accept aren't crimes? Haven't you got enough to be getting on with?

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Coel Hellier - on 11:40 Thu
In reply to 1philjones1:

> And I did not support prosecution, without knowing the content. I said it should be considered.

You also said: "Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the additifacts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate".

There you are: "yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate".

> So there you go again, misrepresenting what I said because it suits your argument. 

Sorry, but the facts are against you. I am quoting you accurately. 

> In relation to your ‘edit’- the police officer is not the prosecuting agency and does not make decisions as the prosecution.

The police officer is the one who charges the suspect with an offence (for most less-serious offences anyway), and then passes the case to the CPS.   So my use of the phase "prosecuting officer" might not be fully the correct term, but there is still a clear conflict of interest here: the policewoman who decided that she was "offended" was also the policewoman who then charged the suspect with an offence and passed the case to the CPS.

> But that again doesn’t suit your argument, so you just make it up and represent it as the truth.That is not free speech, it’s peddling inflammatory lies.

The difference between "charging officer" and "prosecuting officer" is hardly enough to label one "inflammatory lies".

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off-duty - on 11:41 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Eh? The police should police twitter for things that you accept aren't crimes? Haven't you got enough to be getting on with?

No-one's "policing twitter". They were responding to a complaint.

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Sir Chasm - on 11:44 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> No-one's "policing twitter". They were responding to a complaint.

But you said what happened wasn't a crime, so why have a chat with the bloke. As I said, tell the complainant to take it up with twitter.

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off-duty - on 11:46 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> But you said what happened wasn't a crime, so why have a chat with the bloke. As I said, tell the complainant to take it up with twitter.

Thanks for your advice, caller. Please see my earlier reply.

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Coel Hellier - on 11:48 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> ... had he been singing that in the street I would not consider it unreasonable to "have a word".

There's a huge difference between speech "in the street" --  where passers-by will hear it and where, if it is nasty, people might legitimately wonder whether their physical safety is threatened -- and in an on-line environment where only people who "follow" that person, or are specifically looking for such content, will see it, and where there is no threat to anyone's physical safety.

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Sir Chasm - on 11:48 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> Thanks for your advice, caller. Please see my earlier reply.

Which one? What is it about this https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/01/is-it-now-a-crime-to-like-a-poem-about-transgenderism/ that you think justifies the police "having a word"?

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1philjones1 - on 11:51 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You also said: "Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the additifacts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate".

> There you are: "yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate".

> Sorry, but the facts are against you. I am quoting you accurately. 

The key phrase is ‘with the additional facts’, you seem to be ignoring those. The context is important.

> The police officer is the one who charges the suspect with an offence (for most less-serious offences anyway), and then passes the case to the CPS.   So my use of the phase "prosecuting officer" might not be fully the correct term, but there is still a clear conflict of interest here: the policewoman who decided that she was "offended" was also the policewoman who then charged the suspect with an offence and passed the case to the CPS.

No, wrong. CPS authorise charge once the evidence is presented to them. I know it doesn’t suit your view but that is the way it works.

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off-duty - on 11:54 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Which one? What is it about this https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/01/is-it-now-a-crime-to-like-a-poem-about-transgenderism/ that you think justifies the police "having a word"?

Quite obviously it's his criminal failure to understand what a limerick is.

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Coel Hellier - on 12:01 Thu
In reply to 1philjones1:

> The key phrase is ‘with the additional facts’, you seem to be ignoring those. The context is important.

I'm not ignoring that at all!   You said: "Looks like Marsbar has done the research, and with the additifacts he has supplied, yes, absolutely, a prosecution was appropriate".

So, yes, you did indeed express support for the prosecution. 

So me saying that you did say that you support the prosecution is fair. 

> No, wrong. CPS authorise charge once the evidence is presented to them.

Well according to wiki: "The majority of decisions to charge are made by police forces, which have the authority to charge suspects with less serious offences, ..."

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Sir Chasm - on 12:04 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> Quite obviously it's his criminal failure to understand what a limerick is.

 You really are angling for much more work.

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off-duty - on 12:06 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well according to wiki: "The majority of decisions to charge are made by police forces, which have the authority to charge suspects with less serious offences, ..."

CPS authorised charge. It's in the link YOU posted.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/mersey-cheshire/news/teenager-sentenced-racist-instagram-post

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off-duty - on 12:08 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

>  You really are angling for much more work.

"We should be out catching murderers and rapists?"

"Thanks for your concern. Here's your fixed penalty notice. Have a nice day."

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Sir Chasm - on 12:10 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> "We should be out catching murderers and rapists?"

> "Thanks for your concern. Here's your fixed penalty notice. Have a nice day."

You've accepted there wasn't a crime, now you want to hand out penalty notices. 

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1philjones1 - on 12:11 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The fact that you quote Wiki as a factual source says a lot.

And as Off duty points out, you may want to read your own links. 

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off-duty - on 12:12 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> You've accepted there wasn't a crime, now you want to hand out penalty notices. 

I would have thought you of all people would have recognised sarcasm, Sir Chasm.

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Sir Chasm - on 12:24 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> I would have thought you of all people would have recognised sarcasm, Sir Chasm.

It's difficult to tell, you seem almost evasive as to why you want to police matters that you say aren't crimes. 

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off-duty - on 12:32 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> It's difficult to tell, you seem almost evasive as to why you want to police matters that you say aren't crimes. 

We deal with missing people, mentally ill people, suicidal people, aggressive people, people in dispute with other people, people carrying out lawful protest, people involved in road traffic accidents, dead people...

It ain't all crime.

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Sir Chasm - on 12:57 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> We deal with missing people, mentally ill people, suicidal people, aggressive people, people in dispute with other people, people carrying out lawful protest, people involved in road traffic accidents, dead people...

> It ain't all crime.

Which of those does "posting a poem" on twitter fall under? 

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Sir Chasm - on 12:59 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

Or perhaps the police were worried he was suicidal and it was a cry for help? Or maybe they were worried he was dead and posting from beyond the grave, ooooooh. Perhaps he tweeted it while driving, on his way to a protest.

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Coel Hellier - on 15:26 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

We should have a rule that the police may only investigate so-called "hate incidents" once they have solved every burglary within a 50-mile radius within the last year.

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1philjones1 - on 15:39 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Oh do f*ck off

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Sir Chasm - on 15:47 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Oh I don't know, maybe just avoid "having a word" with people for posting poor poetry on twitter.

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off-duty - on 15:53 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Oh I don't know, maybe just avoid "having a word" with people for posting poor poetry on twitter.

How quickly unpleasant abuse gets normalised to just "poor poetry".

Post edited at 15:53
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Coel Hellier - on 15:59 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> How quickly unpleasant abuse gets normalised to just "poor poetry".

Or rather, note how "expression of opinion that I dislike" gets labelled "abuse" and thence "hate incident". 

Do you regard it as acceptable to argue in any way against the ideology, promoted by some, that "trans women are just as much women as any other women", or is any expression of dissent from that idea "unpleasant abuse"?

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Rob Exile Ward on 16:01 Thu
In reply to Sir Chasm:

I'm not sure that Off Duty deserves the level of sarcasm that you're directing towards him (though I'm pretty sure he can defend himself well enough.)

I don't think any of the issues that are being bandied about on this thread are as straightforward or, indeed, as scary as some are making out. Yes we do have freedom of expression, but not the freedom to shout fire in a crowded theatre; at what point other comments become illegal because harm is likely to occur as a result is always going to be a judgement call, with the police, CPS, judiciary and defence lawyers thrashing out the boundaries between them.

Entirely unprovoked, some idiot - quite unknown to us - called my son a 'ginger c*nt' the other day - I was there, and wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Where does that fit in? Was it legal? He certainly caused my son (and me, for that matter) some (dis)stress. I'd have given a lot for Off Duty to have 'had words' even if there were more serious crimes to be solved elsewhere.   

There again, one of the earliest programmes I remember from my childhood was Dixon of Dock Green... 

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Sir Chasm - on 16:14 Thu
In reply to off-duty:

> How quickly unpleasant abuse gets normalised to just "poor poetry".

How quickly do you want to "normalise" getting phone calls from the police because someone has taken offence at a tweet?

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Sir Chasm - on 16:19 Thu
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I'm not sure that Off Duty deserves the level of sarcasm that you're directing towards him (though I'm pretty sure he can defend himself well enough.)

Sir, sir, he started the sarcasm.

> I don't think any of the issues that are being bandied about on this thread are as straightforward or, indeed, as scary as some are making out. Yes we do have freedom of expression, but not the freedom to shout fire in a crowded theatre; at what point other comments become illegal because harm is likely to occur as a result is always going to be a judgement call, with the police, CPS, judiciary and defence lawyers thrashing out the boundaries between them.

Well, in the case under discussion there appears to be consensus that no crime occurred.

> Entirely unprovoked, some idiot - quite unknown to us - called my son a 'ginger c*nt' the other day - I was there, and wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Where does that fit in? Was it legal? He certainly caused my son (and me, for that matter) some (dis)stress. I'd have given a lot for Off Duty to have 'had words' even if there were more serious crimes to be solved elsewhere.   

I don't know, it's certainly very rude. But I think there's a bit of a difference between a personal, in person, "attack" like that and a comment on twitter you have to seek out.

> There again, one of the earliest programmes I remember from my childhood was Dixon of Dock Green... 

I think mine is the Magic Roundabout.

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Coel Hellier - on 16:33 Thu
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Yes we do have freedom of expression, but not the freedom to shout fire in a crowded theatre; at what point other comments become illegal because harm is likely to occur ...

The basic point here is that we need to retain a proper concept of "harm".   Shouting fire in a crowded theatre could lead to people being burned to death.  That is actual harm.  

People being upset at reading something on the internet is not "harm", and not something that the police should get involved with. 

Again, harassing someone on the street is very different from posting something online, where it would be read by people from the safety of their own home.

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Offwidth - on 17:57 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"The basic point here is that we need to retain a proper concept of "harm".   Shouting fire in a crowded theatre could lead to people being burned to death."

Thought that should be copied before you got the chance to edit it

UK law has prosecuted many things written on the internet, from death threats downwards, so I call bullshit on your comments. You clearly can 'shout fire' on the internet and cause innocent people to get harmed. It's little different in my view from comments made in  public on the street. 

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Jon Stewart - on 18:42 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Should it be a crime to say it on the internet? No...

We don't disagree on the fundamentals of free speech. We do disagree on your misjudged example of someone posting transphobic abuse online as something that needs to be defended. 

My analysis is that the guy posted abuse online and was told off. This is perfectly consistent with living in a free society, and with free speech.

The guy didn't like getting told off for posting abuse, and says "my right to express a valid political opinion is under threat" and you appear to agree with him. So what is his valid political opinion?

> The report quotes him: "I have a wife, a mother and daughters, and when it comes to their rights and safety and those of women everywhere, men need to speak up…I can’t believe what is happening in the UK in the name of transgenderism and, worse still, we’re not even allowed to think never mind talk about it."

It can be summarised, "I hate trans people [the rhyme] because...women". There isn't actually a valid political argument in there at all. Once we've removed the context of some trans activist making claims which are responded to by feminists, there's no political argument there. He's not part of that discussion - he's just like the guy who writes "pakis go home" on the wall and then claims when he's told it's unacceptable that he's being silenced from making political arguments about immigration. 

What you're doing is bending over backwards to attempt to legitimise what's obviously abuse that the guy posted because he thought that laughing at trans people was funny. 

> If anyone thinks that man is not allowed to hold that opinion, or that the poem is outside acceptable debate, then they're saying we all must submit to the approved ideology without even questioning it.

No one's saying that, you're making a ridiculous, hysterical argument following the far right imbecile who wrote the article. If the guy could articulate an opinion that made sense in a way that wasn't abusive, he wouldn't have got told off. He's got a problem because he posted abuse online. It's his fault. It's not a free speech issue. It's got nothing to do with "approved ideology" and everything to do with being abusive to minorities, which isn't something we need to defend people's right to do

How about you forget that example because it's misjudged, and find a new one that actually makes a sensible point: one in which someone makes legitimate political comment and is charged with a crime or otherwise mistreated.

> To me whether something is "offensive" is *not* linked to the boundaries of free speech.

Whether something is abusive and might be harassment is though, eh? So how are you going to draw the line between "offensive" and harassment/abuse? I'm afraid you can't avoid the issue by changing the word to "offensive" which will all know we shouldn't be bothered by. Just more of your frustrating, evasive tactics, which don't wash.

> We all need to chill out a bit and accept that plenty of people in society will hold and express views that we strongly dislike, and can find offensive.  That's just normal and inevitable, and accepting that is part of living in a free society. 

I'm sure when you're the target of some online abuse because of traits you can't control and which set you at disadvantage in society, you'll be really chilled out about it, won't you. Oh wait a minute, that's not going to happen to you, so it's of no consequence. I'm alright, Jack.

Post edited at 18:44
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Pan Ron - on 18:57 Thu
In reply to bouldery bits:

> It's really weird all these people thinking being able to say whatever they want on twitter twitter is some sort of human right. It ain't. It's twitter. Who the heck cares?

> Turn it off. Go outside. 

Twitter is instrumental in winning, losing, and stealing of elections.  Increasingly the news directly reports on what happens on Twitter.  It is taken as a bellwether of public sentiment.

To say its no problem to deny people access to it isn't far removed from considering it ok to deny people access to the internet entirely.  Or certain newspapers.  Afterall, they can just turn it off and go outside. 

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marsbar - on 19:12 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Your opinion of what constitutes harm isn't really relevant.  

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wbo - on 19:21 Thu
In reply to Pan Ron:  Then it's going to have the same norms of conversation as other arenas, including not posting racist/sexist/generally hateful abuse.  

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Pan Ron - on 19:22 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

As it currently stands, that seems to be the legal view as well (at least in the way workplace HR departments view it). If you perceive harm then it is harm, even if none was intended and objectively caused.

I reckon, with the best of intentions, we've gone down a total blind alley with that.  Just because its the law shouldn't stop us from being able to turn around and say, nah, that was a shit idea.  Though, as drug criminalisation has proven, bad ideas once instituted into the statutes, can be left to cause untold misery and suffering for decades, especially when questioning becomes risky itself and even when they were patently absurd from the outset.

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marsbar - on 19:24 Thu
In reply to Pan Ron:

Not really what I meant.  

Not convinced a white male in an ivory tower is the expert on how it feels or the harm caused being on the receiving end of hate due to race, gender identity, sexuality etc.  

Post edited at 19:29
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Pan Ron - on 19:26 Thu
In reply to wbo:

Maybe.  But you're going to have to be very careful about what defines hateful.  More importantly, you'll need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of those you despise and see their perception of it.  I think it is fundamentally fukt if I am allowed to define anything said to me as hate, and that this takes precedence over what I know that person really meant.

The creation of hate-speech has got us back into the realms of religiously compelled speech patterns - all for the common good.

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marsbar - on 19:38 Thu
In reply to Pan Ron:

Have I missed a use of religious?  I thought they were in favour of hating gays?

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FactorXXX - on 19:43 Thu
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Maybe.  But you're going to have to be very careful about what defines hateful. 

Could for example Donald Tusk's 'Special Place in Hell' comment be classed as hate speech?

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Pan Ron - on 19:48 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> Have I missed a use of religious?  I thought they were in favour of hating gays?

The targets change. The methods of oppression remain the same.

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marsbar - on 20:27 Thu
In reply to FactorXXX:

I'm pretty sure that incompetent politicians can be criticised as such without it being hate speech.  

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Coel Hellier - on 20:29 Thu
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> So what is his valid political opinion?

Guessing a bit, since I don't know him, but maybe something along the lines that trans women are not "as much women as any other woman", and that women are entitled to some protected women-only spaces  (so, for example, a convicted sex offender with a male body should not automatically be housed in a women's jail if they are a trans woman).

> There isn't actually a valid political argument in there at all.

We can't tone-police expressions of opinion just by saying that they are not making a reasoned argument.  So what if they're not?  

Would you disallow a protest march chanting "Tories, Tories, Tories, out, out, out!" on the grounds that they're expressing an abusive opinion not making a reasoned argument?

> What you're doing is bending over backwards to attempt to legitimise what's obviously abuse that the guy posted because he thought that laughing at trans people was funny. 

You may consider it "obvious" that it was "abuse" and that the guy "thought that laughing at trans people was funny".  I don't agree, sorry.    As I see it he was expressing the opinion that trans women are not women.   Is he not allowed to have that opinion?

> If the guy could articulate an opinion that made sense in a way that wasn't abusive, he wouldn't have got told off.

That's not a proper distinction to draw.  If you make that distinction, then anyone can shut down criticism of their ideas merely by saying "I find the way that you expressed that offensive".   And they always will find it offensive, however mildly it is expressed!

> He's got a problem because he posted abuse online. It's his fault.

I don't agree that it was "abuse" (I also don't agree that if it was "abuse" then that necessarily makes it improper).

> It's not a free speech issue.

Oh yes it is, this is exactly what the free-speech issue is about.

> It's got nothing to do with "approved ideology" and everything to do with being abusive to minorities, ...

It has got *everything* to do with approved ideologies!  The way those ideologies are being promoted and enforced these days is by claiming that any dissent from them is "offensive" and "abusive" and therefore "hate speech".

The term "hate speech" is simply a modern version of the word "heresy", and its function is often the same, to disallow criticism of approved ideologies.

> ... which isn't something we need to defend people's right to do

Who gets to decide? Who gets to decide what is fair criticism, and what is offensive abuse? 

> How about you forget that example because it's misjudged, ...

No, I think this example is very properly judged.  It really does illustrate the principle of free speech.

> Whether something is abusive and might be harassment is though, eh? So how are you going to draw the line between "offensive" and harassment/abuse?

Harassment is  a whole different thing from mere offensiveness.  For one thing, harassment is aimed at particular people. 

If you repeatedly contact an individual with offensive messages then you are harassing them. If you're merely expressing opinions on the internet, then (however "offensive" some might find it), it is not harassment.

> Just more of your frustrating, evasive tactics, which don't wash.

Frustrating, evasive tactics?  In what way?  I'm being straightforwardly honest.  The problem with many on the far-left (to which you seem to be heading) is that you can't accept the concept of an honest disagreement, so if someone disagrees with you then you conclude they're being evasive or dishonest or something. 

Well, I do not agree that that poem is abusive.  Sorry, but I really, honestly do not. 

You obviously do.  So can we agree that we have a different opinion on whether that poem is abusive?  Which illustrates my point: if you disallow "abusive" content, who gets to decide?

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Coel Hellier - on 20:32 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm pretty sure that incompetent politicians can be criticised as such without it being hate speech.  

Ooh, you called them "incompetent"! That's offensive and abusive to them! 

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FactorXXX - on 20:33 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm pretty sure that incompetent politicians can be criticised as such without it being hate speech.  

Ah right.
So people that you personally don't like/agree with can be essentially told that they deserve to die and rot in hell?
How isn't that hate speech?
I personally don't care, but I think we really need to be careful on what is classified as hate speech and perhaps more importantly, who gets to choose.

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marsbar - on 20:35 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I peraonally don't think women prisoners should be housed with sex offenders or rapists.  

I also don't feel the need to harass or abuse women who have transitioned.  

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Pan Ron - on 20:37 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm offended and feel abused that people don't seem to get this.

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Pan Ron - on 20:39 Thu
In reply to FactorXXX:

Its been interesting to see how criticising incompetence gets rendered as hate speech (Abbot) or fair game (JRM).  There's definitely an ideological bias.  

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Coel Hellier - on 21:03 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> I also don't feel the need to harass or abuse women who have transitioned.  

Well nor do I.  Nor is anyone asking for permission to do that.

What they're asking for is permission to discuss issues without their opinions being disallowed as heresy (sorry, disallowed as "hate speech").

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marsbar - on 21:26 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

There is discussion and there is harassment.  They are not the same thing.  I had a discussion on here some months ago about the issues and feelings raised by single gender spaces vs single sex spaces and the different viewpoints of exclusionary and inclusive feminists.  It was very helpful to hear different view points.  I was able to raise my concerns  (which were generally allayed  by the conversation incidentally) without harassing anyone, and without anyone arresting me for hate speech.  

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Coel Hellier - on 21:32 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> There is discussion and there is harassment.  They are not the same thing. 

Agreed entirely. 

Now, in what way does the above person re-tweeting that poem amount to "harassment" of anyone? 

"harassment": synonyms: "persecution, harrying, pestering, badgering, intimidation, bother, annoyance, aggravation, irritation, pressure, pressurization, force, coercion, molestation"

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Timmd on 21:33 Thu
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Its been interesting to see how criticising incompetence gets rendered as hate speech (Abbot) or fair game (JRM).  There's definitely an ideological bias.  

Do the examples you're thinking of for Diane Abbot definitely not have anything racist or misogynistic in them? What examples are you thinking of - can you share them on here?

Argh, a dislike, the horror. Seems like a reasonable thing to ask. 

Post edited at 21:39
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Timmd on 21:36 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> People being upset at reading something on the internet is not "harm", and not something that the police should get involved with.

So why are there laws about malicious communication (that is, can't replies on twitter be malicious communication too)? 

> Again, harassing someone on the street is very different from posting something online, where it would be read by people from the safety of their own home.

( See above. )

Post edited at 21:37
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marsbar - on 21:38 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Sending multiple messages from multiple accounts would be pestering.  

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Coel Hellier - on 21:44 Thu
In reply to marsbar:

> Sending multiple messages from multiple accounts would be pestering.  

Yes, I agree with you there.     That would be harassment (and, in extreme cases, could be illegal).

But is that relevant to any of the cases being discussed here?

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Coel Hellier - on 21:47 Thu
In reply to Timmd:

> So why are there laws about malicious communication (that is, can't replies on twitter be malicious communication too)? 

Yes, it could well be.  And I'm not saying that anything online is fine.  If someone says "I know where you live and I'm going to kill you" over Twitter then that's not ok.

But that sort of thing is not really relevant to the cases that we are discussing here. 

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Mr Lopez - on 23:04 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Sending multiple messages from multiple accounts would be pestering.  

> Yes, I agree with you there.     That would be harassment (and, in extreme cases, could be illegal).

> But is that relevant to any of the cases being discussed here?

You could have tried reading your own links...

Part 3

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6687123/Mother-arrested-children-calling-transgender-woman-man.html

Post edited at 23:05
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FactorXXX - on 23:28 Thu
In reply to Mr Lopez:

> You could have tried reading your own links...

> Part 3

All that says is that Mrs Scottow (the accused) was alleged to have used two accounts by Stephanie Hayden - something which is denied by Scottow.
Also in that article is a reference to Graham Linehan also being reported by Hayden for similar 'offences'. Maybe I'm being cynical, but isn't there a chance that Hayden, a known transgender activist, is partaking in some dirty tricks to further her cause?

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Jon Stewart - on 23:46 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Guessing a bit, since I don't know him, but maybe something along the lines that trans women are not "as much women as any other woman"...

There is absolutely no reason to believe that he's interested in feminist politics. There is a good reason to believe he isn't: when asked by the journalist to articulate his position he couldn't - he just says "because I've got a daughter".

Your position on his motivation being political feminism is not credible - you're making a ridiculous claim to try to hold onto a position. I don't believe you're being sincere.

> We can't tone-police expressions of opinion just by saying that they are not making a reasoned argument.  So what if they're not?  

Well actually, online content is tone-policed all the time. By moderators on UKC, by terms of use, etc. Only at the extreme end of the scale - harassment - does it become a crime. Free speech is bounded by soft and hard boundaries depending on the context. This is how we work in a free, liberal democracy.

> Would you disallow a protest march chanting "Tories, Tories, Tories, out, out, out!" on the grounds that they're expressing an abusive opinion not making a reasoned argument?

No, because it's not abusive. If it was "Tories are cnuts" yelled in the street, I'd expect a word to be had, because it would be abusive. But it's very different to abusing people because of traits such as race or being trans, because they're inherent traits not political affiliations.

> As I see it he was expressing the opinion that trans women are not women.   Is he not allowed to have that opinion?

He's allowed to have the opinion, He could argue that opinion in all manner of places online, and elsewhere. But when someone complains that he's posting abuse, if whoever's arbitrating in that context agrees that it's abusive they've got every right to delete the content, ban him, tell him stop, whatever they see fit within the rules they operate under. There is no right to post online abuse without sanction. That isn't what free speech is.

> That's not a proper distinction to draw.  If you make that distinction, then anyone can shut down criticism of their ideas merely by saying "I find the way that you expressed that offensive".   And they always will find it offensive, however mildly it is expressed!

For someone who spends a lot of time in online discussion, you seem to have a very poor grasp of how it works. On UKC, you're not free to say whatever you like, nor on twitter, (and nor in the newspaper). As soon as your discussion degenerates into abuse, someone, somewhere makes the distinction (usually following a complaint) and they ban you if they think you've overstepped the mark.

This forum is good, partly because it's well moderated. The debate can heated, but if someone's a real arsehole, they get banned, because being a real arsehole (e.g. posting that poem for people to laugh at) is what shuts down the debate. The maximum freedom of the maximum number *isn't* a free-for-all in which abuse and bullying go unchecked. Carefully judged, soft/grey boundaries are what create a good environment for discussion.

> I don't agree that it was "abuse" (I also don't agree that if it was "abuse" then that necessarily makes it improper)

> It has got *everything* to do with approved ideologies! 

The reason the poem was objected to to the point of a police officer having a word was *entirely* because it was abusive towards a minority - are you arguing that curbing abuse of minorities is an "approved ideology" that we shouldn't be bound by? That without the freedom to post racist abuse, homophobia etc wherever we like, we are being oppressed? This is where I think you're miles off the mark.

Posting online abuse that targets minorities isn't a right, and doesn't need to be defended. I don't understand why you think it's better to have abuse against minorities respected as legitimate political discourse. "Pakis go home" isn't legitimate, a poem expressing hatred of homosexuals isn't fair game for posting online (you can send one by email to a friend if you like though), and nor is that rhyme. It's all the same stuff, abuse towards minorities, and no one has the right to post it on public websites, because it's abuse. The "approved ideology" that's contravened is one known to most as "basic decency".

> The term "hate speech"...

I haven't used the term, it's far too loaded.

> Who gets to decide? Who gets to decide what is fair criticism, and what is offensive abuse? 

Exactly the difficult questions that always need to be considered. In the case in question, I would argue that Twitter get to set the terms, and are responsible for policing them. They need to set those soft/grey boundaries to make Twitter a good place for debate, which includes getting rid of the abuse and bullying that prevent debate and make people's lives miserable.

> If you repeatedly contact an individual with offensive messages then you are harassing them. If you're merely expressing opinions on the internet, then (however "offensive" some might find it), it is not harassment.

So we agree, there's a boundary to legal free speech at harassment, which needs a robust definition. Then on UKC and Twitter, there's no legal boundary, but there's terms of use that set the boundaries of what's acceptable on the platform. Then there are other soft boundaries which might result in say a disciplinary at work for posting something "offensive". There are boundaries of judging what's acceptable for every context, with a proportionate sanction from getting banned from UKC for a week to being charged with a criminal offence. This is the world you're living in, but you don't seem to realise. It's how our freedoms work - they're qualified, and context dependent. 

Posting the abusive rhyme on Twitter transgressed one of these soft boundaries and the guy got a telling off. What he did was considered antisocial, because he was posting online abuse on a public forum. You can't claim a right to be antisocial under "it's my freedom of speech".

> Well, I do not agree that that poem is abusive.  Sorry, but I really, honestly do not. 

Well I think your position is poorly justified. It targets all trans women on the basis that they are trans. It ridicules trans women on the basis of their bodies, not the political view held by some. It's written deliberately to cause them hurt. My belief that it's abusive is justified. Perhaps you should read it again, this time imagining that you've got a son who's been battling with this issue his whole life and now wants to transition. Now, give me a sincere justification that it's not abusive.

> You obviously do.  So can we agree that we have a different opinion on whether that poem is abusive?  Which illustrates my point: if you disallow "abusive" content, who gets to decide?

In our free democracy, these decisions about what's allowed are being made all the time, according to rules such Twitter's terms of use, according to policies in workplaces, and at the extreme end, the law on harassment and incitement. So who's deciding is set out by the context.

Your simplistic desire for a free-for-all in which abusing trans people is a right that should be defended is misjudged. 

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RomTheBear on 00:55 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The basic point here is that we need to retain a proper concept of "harm".   Shouting fire in a crowded theatre could lead to people being burned to death.  That is actual harm.  

Yes, it all depends on what you consider being harmful. And thank god we don’t have to rely on you for that.

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RomTheBear on 01:03 Fri
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> not to mention 'common sense' policing. 

And that’s where you lost Coel.

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summo on 05:51 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

> Do the examples you're thinking of for Diane Abbot definitely not have anything racist or misogynistic in them? What examples are you thinking of - can you share them on here?

> Argh, a dislike, the horror. Seems like a reasonable thing to ask. 

She got a huge amount of flak when she showed off her funding knowledge of the police force. 

No ism or ist there, just a lack of competency in her role paid for by the taxpayer. 

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MG - on 06:23 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

There some racism, yes. But its mostly to do with her monumental arrogance, hypocrisy and incompetance. And, unfortunately, her own racism. 

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RomTheBear on 07:25 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Your simplistic desire for a free-for-all in which abusing trans people is a right that should be defended is misjudged. 

Give up, Jon, Coel is either intellectually incapable or too intellectually dishonest to make the difference between abuse of a group based on protected characteristics, and political debate.

Post edited at 07:26
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marsbar - on 07:51 Fri
In reply to RomTheBear:

He knows.  

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off-duty - on 08:22 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes, it could well be.  And I'm not saying that anything online is fine.  If someone says "I know where you live and I'm going to kill you" over Twitter then that's not ok.

> But that sort of thing is not really relevant to the cases that we are discussing here. 

It is probably relevant to your point 3, where the meat of the allegation was in fact publishing private information about the complainant. Nothing really to do with the transgender argument at all. 

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off-duty - on 08:31 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Agreed entirely. 

> Now, in what way does the above person re-tweeting that poem amount to "harassment" of anyone? 

> "harassment": synonyms: "persecution, harrying, pestering, badgering, intimidation, bother, annoyance, aggravation, irritation, pressure, pressurization, force, coercion, molestation"

I'm not clear where the suggestion was that the poem was 'harassment' - other offences may apply, and has been repeatedly stated, this was not investigated as an offence, but a hate incident.

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Coel Hellier - on 09:03 Fri
In reply to Mr Lopez:

> You could have tried reading your own links...

Yes, that case does seem more complicated.  

Note that it contains a transgender "activist", Stephanie Hayden.  The link says: "The papers claim that, as a 'toxic' debate raged online over plans to allow people to 'self-ID' as another gender ..."

So people are having a politicised debate on Twitter.  As is often the case, this can get bad tempered.   Then, in several cases, what has happened is that the trans activist -- who was a willing participant in the online debate -- reports the other side to the police for having views that the trans activist disagrees with.

Where this involves an activist who is a willing participant in the debates I don't consider it "harassment".  (Any more than disagreeing with someone on this thread amounts to "harassing" them.)

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off-duty - on 09:13 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

There's more to it than debate. As I have repeatedly said.

https://twitter.com/flyinglawyer73/status/1095310933637976065?s=19

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FactorXXX - on 09:23 Fri
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Give up, Jon, Coel is either intellectually incapable or too intellectually dishonest to make the difference between abuse of a group based on protected characteristics, and political debate.

Isn't there a danger that people within those Protected Characteristics groups will use allegations of Hate Speech to effectively close down any criticism of them?
I also assume, that being a member of such a group doesn't render you automatically immune to the sort of language/rhetoric that everyone else is expected to encounter and tolerate. 

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Coel Hellier - on 09:25 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There is a good reason to believe he isn't: when asked by the journalist to articulate his position he couldn't - he just says "because I've got a daughter".

You are being unfair to him.  The quote in the article says a lot more than that.  And of course, what is in the article depends on what the writer chose to include.  It's not fair to conclude that he could give no other articulation of his position. 

> Your position on his motivation being political feminism is not credible - you're making a ridiculous claim to try to hold onto a position. I don't believe you're being sincere.

First, I don't know the person, I'm not psychic, and don't know his motivations.  Retweeting the poem *could* have been because he cares about these issues.  I'm willing to take his word that that was his motivation, when he says:

"I have a wife, a mother and daughters, and when it comes to their rights and safety and those of women everywhere, men need to speak up…I can’t believe what is happening in the UK in the name of transgenderism and, worse still, we’re not even allowed to think never mind talk about it."

Second, I am being sincere. To me, you are delving into far-left ideology which can't accept the concept of an honest disagreement, and thus regards anyone who disagrees with far-left ideology as mad, bad or dangerous. 

> Well actually, online content is tone-policed all the time. By moderators on UKC, by terms of use, etc.

I meant what society allows overall, and thus what is a police matter.  What particular forums allow is another issue. 

> The reason the poem was objected to to the point of a police officer having a word was *entirely* because it was abusive towards a minority

You think it was abusive, I don't. I think it was fair enough as part of the society-wide discussion of these issues at the moment. 

You seem to be wanting to shut their person out of that discussion, saying that his views are unacceptable, and you do that by labeling them "abusive".

> You can't claim a right to be antisocial under "it's my freedom of speech".

Yes, actually, you can.  If you're merely being "anti-social" as opposed to illegal then yes you can speak freely and the police should leave you alone.

If you don't allow that then anyone can shut down views that they don't like by labeling them "anti-social", which is even more vague and subjective than "abusive".

> My belief that [the poem is] abusive is justified.

In your opinion.  As I see it it is essentially expressing the sentiment "trans women are men".  That's not something that I personally would say, but I think it's an opinion that people should be allowed to express as part of the debate. 

It is clearly a counter to the idea that "trans women are as much women as any other woman", and when trans activists push that line they must expect people to counter with "no, trans women are men". 

It seems to me ludicrous that we can have this debate where one side tries to disallow the other side by asking the police to censor them.

> In our free democracy, these decisions about what's allowed are being made all the time, according to rules such Twitter's terms of use, ...

As I've said, I'm not here debating what Twitter should allow, which is a different issue (though I'm happy to get into that if people wish).

> ...  and at the extreme end, the law on harassment and incitement. So who's deciding is set out by the context.

But the problem is that, if the law gets involved, then what amounts to a criminal offence then depends on the subjective opinion of a magistrate.     You and I don't agree on whether that poem is "abusive".  

So, one can readily envisage that if you were a magistrate you'd convict on some occasions where if I were a magistrate I would not -- purely out of our subjective opinion.  I think that laws like that are very bad ones.

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Coel Hellier - on 09:28 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

> There's more to it than debate. As I have repeatedly said.

Well maybe. Is there an account of the facts somewhere by someone who is not one of the disputants?

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off-duty - on 09:41 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well maybe. Is there an account of the facts somewhere by someone who is not one of the disputants?

Having based your argument on a one-sided account given via the Daily Mail, don't you think you should have asked that question prior to posting the OP.

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Offwidth - on 10:27 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

How on earth does that further Coel's view that the police, CPS, much of the public sector  and the social liberal middle classes have fallen under the influence of extreme left ideology? Thats his axiom, so by definition all who disagree are wrong. It would be funny if it were not so sad. The way he ignored secondary definitions for words in the OED to suit his arguments is particularly bizzarre. You have to respect his tenacity though... especially as when he gets angry stuff usually gets sent to the pub to die... all that effort for so little legacy.

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Coel Hellier - on 10:36 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

> Having based your argument on a one-sided account given via the Daily Mail, don't you think you should have asked that question prior to posting the OP.

What I actually said about that case was:

"Should they really be policing such interactions on social media?"

... which is asking a question, and:

"I hope the police have a spectacularly good justification for doing this, that the Daily Mail is not owning up to."

... which explicitly recognises that there might be more to the story than is in the article.   

So, what are the actual facts of the case? What exactly did the woman post that merited an arrest?

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Coel Hellier - on 10:39 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

> How on earth does that further Coel's view that the police, CPS, much of the public sector  and the social liberal middle classes have fallen under the influence of extreme left ideology? Thats his axiom, so by definition all who disagree are wrong. It would be funny if it were not so sad.

Strawman. 

> You have to respect his tenacity though... especially as when he gets angry stuff usually gets sent to the pub to die... all that effort for so little legacy.

You are inventing things.  I can't remember any time where such a thread has been moved to the pub.  Can you? Or are you just making things up?

As for legacy, no-one will read the threads once they are old anyhow.  There is no "legacy" for them. 

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RomTheBear on 10:50 Fri
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Isn't there a danger that people within those Protected Characteristics groups will use allegations of Hate Speech to effectively close down any criticism of them?

There is. But again, most people with a bit of common sense can make the distinction. Our laws and their applications broadly reflect that.

> I also assume, that being a member of such a group doesn't render you automatically immune to the sort of language/rhetoric that everyone else is expected to encounter and tolerate. 

Not automatically, but I think anybody with common sense can recognise that saying “f* the Tories”  is not the same as saying “ f* the Jews”.

Coel would like you to think it’s all on the same plane so as to allow the latter. It’s an intellectually fraudulent position.

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Coel Hellier - on 10:53 Fri
In reply to RomTheBear:

> It’s an intellectually fraudulent position.

One notes that, as usual, Rom is too cowardly to put his name to his taunts.

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off-duty - on 10:59 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> What I actually said about that case was:

> "Should they really be policing such interactions on social media?"

> ... which is asking a question, and:

> "I hope the police have a spectacularly good justification for doing this, that the Daily Mail is not owning up to."

> ... which explicitly recognises that there might be more to the story than is in the article.   

You've also gone on to suggest that this is just an example of heated online debate which is then exploited by one party calling the police.

> So, what are the actual facts of the case? What exactly did the woman post that merited an arrest?

Well, given that you are the person that started an entire thread complaining about it, wouldn't that be something you should have ascertained, prior to making your case that the police action is unconscionable.

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Coel Hellier - on 11:01 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

> You've also gone on to suggest that this is just an example of heated online debate which is then exploited by one party calling the police.

Which it might well be, given the track record of that complainant.

> ... wouldn't that be something you should have ascertained, prior to making your case that the police action is unconscionable.

I put the topics up for discussion, that's what the thread is for.

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Offwidth - on 11:03 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Two Islam arguments started in off belay and went to the pub. You certainly know about at least one of these as I still have your childish emails about it in my inbox. 

Post edited at 11:05
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Coel Hellier - on 12:05 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

> Two Islam arguments started in off belay and went to the pub.

Not as far as I recall. One thread was deleted entirely (was it you who went whining to the moderators? You seemed to be upset by it).   I'm not aware of any thread involving me being moved to the pub.

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Coel Hellier - on 12:19 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

This is a report from The Times about the track record of the complainant in my "Part 3". 

"The creator of Father Ted is embroiled in a row with a transgender activist, who allegedly published online several addresses linked to his family in an attempt to “shut him up”.

"Graham Linehan, the Bafta award-winning comedy writer, said he would not stop voicing his concerns in the debate over transgender rights, after personal details and addresses linked to his wife’s company were tweeted by Stephanie Hayden, an activist with a history of threatening Twitter users with legal action, and reporting them to police if they disagree with her views on gender. Publishing such details online is known as doxxing.

"This week she reported Mr Linehan to Norfolk constabulary for “transphobic harassment”, after he shared a post with his 672,000 followers that included details of Ms Hayden’s various aliases, examples of her conduct online and financial history. The scriptwriter said he shared the details because he believed Ms Hayden to be “a dangerous troll. I believe it’s important to shine a light on people like that because they are harming women and transwomen”.

"Ms Hayden, 45, an activist from Leeds previously known as Tony Halliday and Steven Hayden, claims to be a lawyer but is not recognised by any professional legal body.

"She has previously accused Sussex University of being a “temple of transgender hate” and supported the campaign to oust female academics if they challenged transgender orthodoxy. She was also among the activists who pressurised a billboard company this week to remove a poster in Liverpool, which said the dictionary definition of “woman” was an “adult human female” because it was offensive.

"When a transsexual solicitor challenged Ms Hayden, who graduated with a law degree from Birkbeck, University of London, to prove her professional credentials, she made allegations of hate crime to West Yorkshire Police.

"Mr Linehan, 50, claimed Ms Hayden posted details of his wife’s company, and published them online, in retaliation for sharing details of her background.

“Hayden was trying to shut me up by attacking my wife,” he said. “The only thing the extremists will accept in this conversation is complete capitulation but I won’t stop talking about this.

“There’s this unquestioning reverence for anyone who says they are transgender, but this unquestioning loyalty is really dangerous. Once people start silencing views, they start thinking they can get away with anything. This time, Stephanie has overreached.”

"Ms Hayden denied accusations she behaved like a troll. She said: “I tweet under my own name and I am accountable for my actions. It is a matter of public record that I was born ‘Anthony Halliday’. My name was changed lawfully in 2005 to ‘Steven Hayden’. There is no legal prohibition on maintaining two identities. There is no legal requirement for any lawyer to be registered with a professional body unless carrying out reserved activities under their own name. I no longer routinely carry out any reserved activities.

“Mr Linehan deliberately used my former male identity and referred to me as ‘he’ despite having personal knowledge that I am the holder of a female gender recognition certificate. This is an act of transphobic harassment.”"

=============

There does seem to be a pattern of the police tending to take the side of the trans activist rather than being impartial.

Edit to add link (paywalled): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/father-ted-writer-graham-linehan-says-the-trans-activist-stephanie-hayden-is-dangerous-troll-6pwrg9p68

Post edited at 12:19
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off-duty - on 12:42 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It's like whack-a-mole.

We have one incident that doesn't appear to be what you believed it to be, so you look for another incident etc etc. It's almost as if you have a point to make and need to find the evidence to support it, rather than the other way round.

I have no particular "side" on this issue or the activities of Hayden. 

This spat appears to have involved doxxing and unpleasant behaviour potentially on both sides.

A harassment warning holds no specific legal power. It's simply a record that you've been spoken to regarding a pattern of behaviour that appears to be harassment. It's a record so that if a prosecution is later started due to subsequent actions then there is clear evidence that there had been a course if conduct that you were aware of.

You can dispute that conduct as "not amounting to harassment" if you decide that your behaviour is reasonable, continue it and if you end up getting charged.

Similarly there is no requirement to serve a harassment notice before commencing any prosecution - if there's a course of conduct that has already occurred.

In essence it's, yet another, way of "having a word".

In this second case it doesn't really seem to be a "free speech" issue as much as a harassment issue. 

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Offwidth - on 12:45 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

In those old dead  threads you accused various UKC individuals (with fairly standard centrist views and who have posted that they despise Islamism) as being well trained by Islamists... pretty clear and nasty libelous nonsense. You often try to claim the moral high ground but this is hardly a fair proportionate way to debate. You equate rudeness based on evidence of clear incompetance in politicians with your online personal insults to UKC regulars... its not the same and the UKC site clearly says so in the site rules (picking fights is not the same as rudeness in political discourse). You unnecessarily insult more people in this thread. What UKC does with all this is up to UKC but I think you are a freedom of speech obsessive worried about the wrong problems.  Freedom of speech being used to pander to idealogues is a clear problem to me, especially in the US... in contrast UK law has seemed broadly sensible but may be drifting too far censorially in some cases (I'd certainly prefer less tolerance of Ms Haydn and more sensitivity for the likes of Mr Linehan... given the balance of evidence). Yet compared to the damage done online in the UK by death, rape and other violent threats, such cases still seem pretty trivial to me.

Post edited at 12:48
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Coel Hellier - on 12:52 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

> We have one incident that doesn't appear to be what you believed it to be, ...

My first comment on it accepted that there might be more to it than in the report.  And so far you have not pointed to any accepted facts that says my initial impression was wrong.  (Claims by an activist disputant are not "accepted facts".)

> ... so you look for another incident etc etc.

Since they all involve the same complainant they are relevant.     Surely you, as a policeman, understand that a pattern of similar behaviour is usually relevant?

> In essence it's, yet another, way of "having a word".

The point is that if police decide to "have a word" they are very much implying that the behaviour should stop, and that if it doesn't then they might be in trouble. 

Thus they are very much acting as censors.  That is how it would be interpreted by the person you "have a word" with, and that is exactly why activists such as Stephanie Hayden make such complaints to the police.

> This spat appears to have involved doxxing and unpleasant behaviour potentially on both sides.

It would be interesting to know whether the police also "had a word" with Stephanie Hayden.

Post edited at 12:53
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off-duty - on 12:54 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

Not only trivial, but fairly clear outliers. We see less than a handful of incidents which rarely, if ever, even get to court, but generally are in the subject that is the cause du jour, in this case trans-activism and it's ability to sell papers...

I'm more interested in the case of James Goddard, who is still in bail from the Met, where it's not entirely clear whether his offence was calling Soubry a Nazi or due to his aggressive behaviour, and whether his defence includes lawful protest.

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Coel Hellier - on 13:02 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

> In those old dead  threads you accused various UKC individuals (with fairly standard centrist views and who have posted that they despise Islamism) as being well trained by Islamists... pretty clear and nasty libelous nonsense.

No, I specifically accused *you*.     (And you didn't answer as to whether it was you who went whining to the moderators to get the "pretty clear and nasty libelous nonsense" pulled.)   

And I stand by my remarks, you do indeed repeatedly do what the Islamists want you to, namely try to disallow any criticism of Islam.    (And you do it by the Islamists' preferred tactic, "ooh, you're attacking people", when, no, it was the *religion* that was being criticised)

> You equate rudeness based on evidence of clear incompetance in politicians with your online personal insults to UKC regulars...

Anything I've said to such as you and Rom has been in response to clear aggressive rudeness from you to me.  You two are both hypocrites.    

> You unnecessarily insult more people in this thread. 

Pot, kettle, black. You and Rom specialise in sanctimonious nastiness.

> ...  I think you are a freedom of speech obsessive worried about the wrong problems.

No problem!, that's just a disagreement about priorities and we all have differences of opinion on what is important.  You have your hobby horses and that is fine with me.  But then you try to disallow me from having my hobby horses.

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Offwidth - on 13:36 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Despite preferring better behaviour I'm perfectly OK with being  rude to people whom I've tried many times to to debate with and failed (and to defend that to moderators as less picking a fight and more sheer exasperation)  and to be rude about politicians who demonstrate clear evidence of incompetance (and always have been). I think you enjoy your 'philosophy of rhetorical attack' in defence of your ideals. You fail to recognise your cognitive dissonance in this regard:  accusing opponents in debate as hypocrites on the one hand whilst on the other hand you continue  to do far worse  (like making libellous statements about political moderates being "well trained by Islamists" that could never be defendable as truth... and no I'm not the only one implicated in this).

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Coel Hellier - on 13:58 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

> Despite preferring better behaviour I'm perfectly OK with being  rude to people whom I've tried many times to to debate with and failed ...

Now that is revealing. It's an attitude increasingly common the left.  It amounts to: "you are *still* disagreeing with you, even though I have patiently explained my position several times!  Thus I can only conclude that you are not arguing honestly and thus deserve insults.".

It is a simple failure to accept that other people see things differently and can honestly disagree!  It is the sanctimonious presumption that their position is so obviously correct that no fair-minded and reasonable person could disagree with it. 

> I think you enjoy your 'philosophy of rhetorical attack' in defence of your ideals.

I go after *ideas* rather tenaciously, yes indeed.   I rarely attack *people* such as other posters except in retaliation, and usually only after tolerating a lot of provocation. 

[PS Did you go whining to the moderators to get that thread pulled?]

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off-duty - on 14:27 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I go after *ideas* rather tenaciously, yes indeed.   I rarely attack *people* such as other posters except in retaliation, and usually only after tolerating a lot of provocation. 

It's interesting that you moderate your free speech like that. In the cases discussed previously the protagonists have singularly failed to self regulate in that manner.

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Andy Johnson on 14:42 Fri
In reply to the thread:

Dear god - is this still going?

He won't ever give up. You do know that, right?

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Coel Hellier - on 14:53 Fri
In reply to off-duty:

> In the cases discussed previously the protagonists have singularly failed to self regulate in that manner.

Not at all.  For example, in the case of the poem, the poem is not aimed at any specific individual, it's aimed at the *idea* that a "man" can transition to being a "woman". 

In the rap-lyrics case there was no attack at all on any person, no attempt to offend anyone. 

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lummox - on 14:55 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Who is this Snap Dogg chap you mention? Is he part of a popular beat combo?

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Darren Jackson - on 15:16 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier and Offwidth:

I love it when brainy folk fall out.

Would the pair of you mind conducting your arguments in Latin or, failing that, using the medium of Gregorian chant?... Such a turn on.

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FactorXXX - on 15:17 Fri
In reply to RomTheBear:

> There is. But again, most people with a bit of common sense can make the distinction. Our laws and their applications broadly reflect that.

Isn't that partly what this thread is about? i.e. the question is being asked whether or not things being reported as Hate Speech are being viewed as such by the Police and CPS, etc. ?

> Not automatically, but I think anybody with common sense can recognise that saying “f* the Tories”  is not the same as saying “ f* the Jews”.
> Coel would like you to think it’s all on the same plane so as to allow the latter. It’s an intellectually fraudulent position.

That would all depend on context and both cases could be either be Hate Speech or not.

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toad - on 15:45 Fri
In reply to Darren Jackson:

The phrase "haven't yougot any marking to do?" Springs to mind...

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off-duty - on 16:46 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Not at all.  For example, in the case of the poem, the poem is not aimed at any specific individual, it's aimed at the *idea* that a "man" can transition to being a "woman". 

> In the rap-lyrics case there was no attack at all on any person, no attempt to offend anyone. 

I'll take back "singularly" and agree the rap was just a random post.

The conversation/tweeting in which the poem was mentioned appeared to be, at best, a discussion of trans issues (,to give the hairy a**sed docker the benefit of the doubt since we don't know the content) to which the poem was in effect a repetition of "you're a c**t" but couched in transphobic rather than colloquial terms.  It's directed at those that ''dare to" participate in the debate rather than furthering the *ideas* debated. 

And to be fair it's just unpleasant.

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Timmd on 17:32 Fri
In reply to MG:

> There some racism, yes. But its mostly to do with her monumental arrogance, hypocrisy and incompetance. And, unfortunately, her own racism. 

I can't really argue with those traits being in her. 

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Offwidth - on 18:13 Fri
In reply to toad:

Coel is a physics prof;  most in his position are fully devoted to research 60+ hours a week and don't have time to fight the PC tendancies of the liberal/academic middle classes, let alone doing so in the academic backwaters of climbing forums.

I'm really more an academic politician than anything else. Being semi-retired from research and less politically involved than I once was, I'm very much on top of the rest of my academic work, and so do have time to play on internet climbing forums (when I'm not climbing or voluntering). Facing off the sort of things Coel is arguing is also sometimes part of my day job.

I certainly don't do much marking and I doubt Coel does either.

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Pan Ron - on 18:47 Fri
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> He won't ever give up. You do know that, right?

Is that not his right? 

You don't want to read challenging debate, go elsewhere.  Its almost as if...you want those you disagree with to be silent.  

I posted on a previous thread what I thought an enlightening statistic quoted by the CEO of Twitter; that they found during the US presidential election, most left-wing voters followed no right-wing commentators, while large numbers of right-wing voters followed left-wing commentators.  There was a clear mismatch between the openness to challenging ideas. 

I thought that was fascinating.  And revealing.

It does seem to correlate with the reaction here to criticism of the left; that the left doesn't just deny the validity of contrary opinion, but might not want them heard at all after a certain point.  That contrary opinion is necessarily of ill-intent and not in good faith, and is itself extremely offensive. 

To even point out this tendency stirs quite a reaction.  Its a safe space the left, given history, and if lessons have been learnt from that history, should be very wary of regressing to.

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toad - on 19:32 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

I know, i know. I think ...《deleted stuff i shouldn't post when im drunk about security of employment》

Post edited at 19:35
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sg - on 19:37 Fri
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> Dear god - is this still going?

> He won't ever give up. You do know that, right?

I'm posting with huge trepidation and safe in the knowledge that I have a busy 9 days ahead which should preclude getting drawn in! And it feels a bit safer replying to someone other Coel (no offence intended!).

I got half way through this thread and then realised I was only half way through so had to give up on any thorough reading or following of links. FWIW, tuppence though: all these discussions about freedom of speech are interesting, and no doubt valuable. However, I do think it's worth putting the cases referenced and the angst they generate into a wider historical context. The idea of universal human rights themselves are still relatively new and, immutable and universal though many of us would want / hope them to be, we are still coming to understand how they translate on the ground. In particular concepts like Freedom of Speech which are more recently enshrined specifically and defined 'nationally' than the general concepts of the Universal Declaration.

A vital historical context is, of course, the age of the internet. What we say, how we say it, who we say it to, the meaning we may or may not imbue our utterances are potentially transformed by the media we now have at our disposal. My own feeling is simply that it's very early days and we don't even know whether we're 'publishing' when we write on the internet or just 'speaking'. Legislation takes time to catch up and, perhaps even slower, is 'general consensus' - what the moral majority believes is right. So basically all I think is, whatever the apparent implications of individual cases or even apparent amendments in legislation to assume we'll all be living in a police state before we know it is probably overstating things a bit.

The internet has changed everything and nobody really knows what to do with it yet. All interesting though, as I say. For example, I confess I hadn't even heard of the Golden Shield Project before (one quick jump from Wikipedia's freedom speech article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Shield_Project). I feel like it's a good thing that we don't have the same thing in the UK. On the other hand, I wish there wasn't so much filth on the web that my kids have essentially unlimited access to...

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pasbury on 19:44 Fri
In reply to Darren Jackson:

> I love it when brainy folk fall out.

> Would the pair of you mind conducting your arguments in Latin or, failing that, using the medium of Gregorian chant?... Such a turn on.

I do agree, it's awesome and humbling to see such intellectual master debaters in action.

Post edited at 19:47
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Andy Johnson on 20:13 Fri
In reply to Pan Ron:

1. Firstly, I should point out that you may just have overestimated the seriousness of that post. Worth considering?

> Is that not his right?

2. Of course.

> You don't want to read challenging debate, go elsewhere. 

3. I wouldn't call it challenging. I did participate at the start but then actually did go elsewhere.

> Its almost as if...you want those you disagree with to be silent. 

4. Nope. See 2 above. And I never told anyone to be silent.

> I posted on a previous thread what I thought an enlightening statistic quoted by the CEO of Twitter; that they found during the US presidential election, most left-wing voters followed no right-wing commentators, while large numbers of right-wing voters followed left-wing commentators.  There was a clear mismatch between the openness to challenging ideas. 

> I thought that was fascinating.  And revealing.

5. Interesting. I thought it was more symmetrical than that: left and right mostly don't follow eachother. Care to post a link?

> It does seem to correlate with the reaction here to criticism of the left; that the left doesn't just deny the validity of contrary opinion, but might not want them heard at all after a certain point.  That contrary opinion is necessarily of ill-intent and not in good faith, and is itself extremely offensive. 

> To even point out this tendency stirs quite a reaction.  Its a safe space the left, given history, and if lessons have been learnt from that history, should be very wary of regressing to.

6. It feels like you're accusing me of something, but it's not clear what. How about you just spell it out in fewer words?

Post edited at 20:15
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Thrudge on 20:29 Fri
In reply to Darren Jackson:

> Would the pair of you mind conducting your arguments in Latin or, failing that, using the medium of Gregorian chant?... Such a turn on.

If you'd indulge me by doing some fourth level Fournean rationalising, you'll realise that this won't be necessary.

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Coel Hellier - on 20:46 Fri
In reply to sg:

> However, I do think it's worth putting the cases referenced and the angst they generate into a wider historical context.

As a piece of historical context, traditionally it has been the "disadvantaged minorities" who have been keenest on free speech, since, lacking power, speech was all they had, their only way of standing up for themselves.

Nowadays, those who claim to speak on behalf of disadvantaged minorities often deplore free speech since it can be used to offend those minorities.

I think they're playing a dangerous game.  If one produces tools to censor speech, who -- in the end -- is most likely to use such tools? More or less by definition, the powerful majorities will have the most power to use such tools.

Can anyone think of a prominent American who would readily mis-use such tools if he could? (Hint: rhymes with Chump.) Fortunately, in that case, such tools are not available to him owing to their fairly absolutest interpretation of the first amendment.

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Coel Hellier - on 20:51 Fri
In reply to Pan Ron:

>  that they found during the US presidential election, most left-wing voters followed no right-wing commentators, while large numbers of right-wing voters followed left-wing commentators.  There was a clear mismatch between the openness to challenging ideas. 

This is true. A number of studies have found that right wingers generally understand left-wing views to a reasonable extent and can make a decent stab at fairly summarising them (while, obviously, not agreeing with them), but that left-wingers generally don't understand right-wing views and can't summarise them other than in a strawman caricature.  The basic reason is that they have no interest in understanding such views and don't think they should have to do so.

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sg - on 21:04 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Nowadays, those who claim to speak on behalf of disadvantaged minorities often deplore free speech since it can be used to offend those minorities.

> I think they're playing a dangerous game.  If one produces tools to censor speech, who -- in the end -- is most likely to use such tools? More or less by definition, the powerful majorities will have the most power to use such tools.

I do understand that, and I don't disagree with much of your general thrust of wanting to protect free speech. However, the historical gloss you give is interesting. In a sense, the general, prevailing 'PC' view -  if you want to call it that (or maybe it's just the liberal metropolitan elite bashing old school racism, sexism, transgenderism etc. but anyway) - that you are concerned about isn't the orchestration of the state, is it? In truth, it's an exposition of the rise of individualism, in the sense that it seeks to protect (from offence, as well as harm), plurality and diversity. It's not really a single kind of 'Groupthink' because we're not being thought policed towards a specific set of views, we're being thought policed away from a set of views that used to prevail and, in doing so, harmed the right to freedom of expression in the sense that they created a climate which reduced, or at least worked against, plurality. That probably doesn't make any sense, although each half sentence made sense to me when I wrote it...

It seems unlikely that an authoritarian state will really assert itself by encouraging people to embrace a diversity of views about themselves. Trump certainly doesn't do that, after all. You may be right that, in locking up people for offensive tweets, the state is going too far, but I think that's more a manifestation of the newness of the internet than a sign that we'll soon be living in a totalitarian state or a caliphate, or any other kind of theocracy. If I'm wrong, I'll see you in the gulag (I shouldn't be flippant, sorry).

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Gordon Stainforth - on 21:09 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

This is so extraordinary so that I've archived it so that I can always retrieve it. As a historian, with moderate views, spending all my time always looking at and weighing up both sides of any argument, I've never seen anything that supports this bizarre theory of yours:

>"A number of studies have found that right wingers generally understand left-wing views to a reasonable extent and can make a decent stab at fairly summarising them (while, obviously, not agreeing with them), but that left-wingers generally don't understand right-wing views and can't summarise them other than in a strawman caricature.  The basic reason is that they have no interest in understanding such views and don't think they should have to do so."

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sg - on 21:12 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think they're playing a dangerous game.  If one produces tools to censor speech, who -- in the end -- is most likely to use such tools?

Sorry, just to pick up one more point... Your 'they're' is an interesting entity, isn't it? I realise you're talking about 'the people who seek to represent them', rather the disadvantaged minorities themsleves, but that's still a pretty dissolute group, isn't it? They surely aren't an organised, cohesive group of aggressive lawmakers seeking to restrict civil society? Or maybe they are, but that doesn't really chime with the liberal metropolitan bit of the elite thing, not to me.

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Coel Hellier - on 21:26 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> This is so extraordinary so that I've archived it so that I can always retrieve it. As a historian, with moderate views, spending all my time always looking at and weighing up both sides of any argument, I've never seen anything that supports this bizarre theory of yours:

Well one of the studies is by Jonathan Haidt ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt ):

"In a study I did with Jesse Graham and Brian Nosek, we tested how well liberals and conservatives could understand each other. We asked more than two thousand American visitors to fill out the Moral Foundations Qyestionnaire. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out normally, answering as themselves. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as they think a “typical liberal” would respond. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as a “typical conservative” would respond. This design allowed us to examine the stereotypes that each side held about the other. More important, it allowed us to assess how accurate they were by comparing people’s expectations about “typical” partisans to the actual responses from partisans on the left and the right)’ Who was best able to pretend to be the other?

"The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal.” The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives. ...."

https://theindependentwhig.com/haidt-passages/haidt/conservatives-understand-liberals-better-than-liberals-understand-conservatives/

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Gordon Stainforth - on 21:42 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'll add that to the archive as an even more bizarre and gently amusing specimen.

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Jon Stewart - on 21:52 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You are being unfair to him.  The quote in the article says a lot more than that.

"I have a wife, a mother and daughters, and when it comes to their rights and safety and those of women everywhere, men need to speak up…I can’t believe what is happening in the UK in the name of transgenderism and, worse still, we’re not even allowed to think never mind talk about it."

No it doesn't. There is no explanation given of how trans women harm the rights and safety of women. There is no argument here, it says "I hate trans women [the rhyme] because women". And then there's some moaning about "not being allowed to think" - which can be translated as "I got told off and now I've got bottom lip on" (but the point here is about the credibility of his feminist politics so we can ignore that bit for now).

Unlike you, I'm only going to judge this guy on what I know. I'm not going to assume that he's got well-reasoned feminist arguments that somehow justify the online abuse he posted (they wouldn't anyway, but they could at least be consistent with it), because I have absolutely evidence for it.

> Second, I am being sincere. You think it was abusive, I don't. I think it was fair enough as part of the society-wide discussion of these issues at the moment. 

I gave you my justification as to why I think it's abusive. I suggested, as a test of whether it's abusive, you to imagine your son wanted to transition and read the text again. So, if you don't like being called evasive, maybe have another go at explaining your justification that this isn't abusive, bearing in mind that saying there is an underlying political message doesn't cut it (you pointed this our yourself upthread, abusive and political aren't mutually exclusive). 

You're a man. 

Your breasts are made of silicone 

Your vagina goes nowhere 

And we can tell the difference 

Even when you are not there 

Your hormones are synthetic 

And lets just cross this bridge 

What you have you stupid man 

Is male privilege.

You’re a man, you’re a man 

We can say it, yes we can 

That you’ll never be a woman 

Even if that is your plan 

Every cell is coded male 

From your birth until the grave 

You are simply a man 

Neither stunning nor brave

Your penis isn’t womanly 

Your wig is poorly made 

Your idea of womanhood 

Just doesn’t make the grade 

You think we are just caricatures 

Or porn tropes for your use 

You pretend that you can be us 

But it’s merely more abuse

Your great big hands and manly head 

Are difficult to hide 

A hand in front of Adam’s fruit 

Proof does not provide 

That you have changed your actual sex 

Because your brain is pink 

It’s laughable to those of us 

Who can actually think.

You're not dishonest of course, but you're happy to ignore the attack on the simple existence of trans women in general, ridiculing their bodies, especially their genitals, in the full knowledge that they've lived their whole lives suffering deep distress precisely because of their mental relationship with their bodies. That makes it abuse, regardless of the political argument that underlies its origin (which it has now lost, being taken out of its original context and posted by a bloke who demonstrates no understanding of the argument). I'm sorry to insist that your sincerely held and reasonable view that is not abuse doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny, and that has been obvious from the start.

Let's try another test: imagine posting this on UKC with no context, just for entertainment. What do you think would happen? I think it'd go Report Abuse>Delete within an hour. Or another: circulated by email in an office where there was a trans woman. Disciplinary. 

Your ridiculous argument is that you wouldn't find it abusive towards your son (impossible to believe), you think it would or should be fine on UKC (it wouldn't), and that the managers dishing out the disciplinary aren't dealing with abuse, they're trying to suppress feminist political discussion rather than curb abuse of the employee. Your position is patently absurd, but you don't have the humility to shift even slightly.

> You seem to be wanting to shut their person out of that discussion, saying that his views are unacceptable, and you do that by labeling them "abusive".

Miles off the mark. I would be delighted for him to join in a discussion about trans issues if he was able to do so without being abusive. For example he might say "while I believe that trans people deserve respect the same as anyone else, I think there are situations where it is to the detriment of women that they are categorised as such. For example...".

You are dishonestly misrepresenting me. I don't object to the feminist politics. I don't seek to silence them. My position is that if you post abuse towards minorities online, there are soft sanctions for good reasons, and to defend the right to post that abuse is to make society a more miserable place for those on the receiving end. 

> But the problem is that, if the law gets involved, then what amounts to a criminal offence then depends on the subjective opinion of a magistrate.  

You wondered why I described your tactics as frustrating. This is now the third time I've pointed out that it was not a crime. 

We're just going round in circles here, but I'm perfectly satisfied that I'm perfectly open to political arguments from any angle, but I understand why online abuse is worth addressing with soft sanctions. I'm also perfectly happy to stick to my view that you're evasive, frustrating and dishonest, examples of which are highlighted above.

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Coel Hellier - on 21:52 Fri
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'll add that to the archive as an even more bizarre and gently amusing specimen.

Here's something else to add, it seems topical:

"Wanting to protect one’s staff from, for instance, personal harassment is obviously understandable. But the “safety of their audience”? Whoever said art was safe? The idea of safety is prevalent throughout the poetry community right now—there is even a hashtag called #saferlit. But safety from what, exactly? From a poem that might offend someone’s sensibilities? From an idea someone else might not agree with? To describe protection from ideas, art, or words as “safety” is a sinister misuse of language, and it has always been the righteous excuse offered in justification  of censorship. “If a work is harming others, and taking away someone’s humanity, then I think it’s ethical to remove the work, because it’s not helping anyone, and just promoting dangerous thought that has led many countries to violent wars and aggressions,” says Valente.

"This kind of reasoning may sound like a kinder and more empathetic kind of censorship, but protecting our own best interests has always been the benevolent justification for the banning or burning of books. And in today’s feverish and intolerant cultural climate, a “dangerous thought” may simply be a “thought” with which the self-appointed censor disagrees. Too much protection makes a population naïve. Pushing boundaries is practically a condition for creating art, and artists have either been rewarded or punished for pushing the limits of acceptability and challenging the voices of cultural or political authority, depending on the political temperature of the time. And that is why artistic censorship is always high on the list of priorities of totalitarian regimes."

https://quillette.com/2019/02/14/poetic-injustice-and-performative-outrage/

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sg - on 21:59 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well one of the studies is by Jonathan Haidt ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt ):

 The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives. ...."

I have always struggled to understand how tories are anything other than selfish bastards who want to just want to crush the ordinary chap in the street under their heel...

Joking aside (although, I do really struggle with it, a bit), do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing that liberals can't understand conservative thinking on care and fairness? Do conservatives know something that we don't or do they genuinely not care? Or do they have an all-seeing eye and tolerate the rest of us losers just because we're easily exploited with our feeble minds which can't really understand how the world really works?

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sg - on 22:06 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

BTW, you've done a great job Jon. I think you can accept you've done your best on this one. I have to say, when I read the first part of this thread I felt like was I doing an OK job (feeble-minded though my liberal mind may be), of impartially sifting through the arguments. Then I read the actual poem when it was first posted higher up and actually felt slightly sick and stopped reading the arguments. When you read it you do have a sense that someone must have proper insecurity and feel strangely threatened to come up with such malicious stuff.

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Jon Stewart - on 22:10 Fri
In reply to sg:

Thank you. The bottom line is that Coel knows it's abuse, but he won't shift because he doesn't want to lose face.

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Coel Hellier - on 22:22 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> you're happy to ignore the attack on the simple existence of trans women in general, ridiculing their bodies, especially their genitals, in the full knowledge that they've lived their whole lives suffering deep distress precisely because of their mental relationship with their bodies. That makes it abuse, ...

Context, context, context!   Context really does matter.  

First, I agree with you, to circulate such a poem at work would be inappropriate and abusive.  In that context it would be wrong. 

And if it were aimed at trans women who were struggling with their bodies and only wanted to make the best of their lives, then again, yes, it would be abusive.

But it wasn't. The trans debate has got extremely politicised, and the poem was aimed at the trans activists.   (And many moderate trans people disagree strongly with some of the more radical trans activists.)

It is aimed at the trans activists who want to push through the fairly radical idea that trans women are women in every respect.

An example of such an activist is the Canadian person (a trans woman with male genitals) who phoned up multiple parlours offering a "Brazilian wax" service to women (i.e. the complete removal of all pubic hair), and if they declined to offer the same to this person, owing to their possession of male genitals, then they got sued.  She sued 16 such parlours for not regarding her (male) genitals as "a woman's genitals" and offering her the same service as (other) women.

Other examples of the line some activists take is that it is "transphobic" for a straight man to not be sexually attracted to someone with male genitals, if that person regards themselves as a woman. 

The poem was written by a feminist activist and was clearly aimed at that sort of trans activist. 

As for the re-tweet by the man in question, it would only have been seen by people who had deliberately "followed" that man, where "following" someone on Twitter is a request to receive their opinions.  That's the whole point of Twitter! 

In that context, I don't regard the poem or its retweeting as "abusive", but instead regard it as fair enough. Sorry! 

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Timmd on 22:30 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Context, context, context!   Context really does matter.  

> First, I agree with you, to circulate such a poem at work would be inappropriate and abusive.  In that context it would be wrong. 

> And if it were aimed at trans women who were struggling with their bodies and only wanted to make the best of their lives, then again, yes, it would be abusive.

> But it wasn't. The trans debate has got extremely politicised, and the poem was aimed at the trans activists.   (And many moderate trans people disagree strongly with some of the more radical trans activists.)

> It is aimed at the trans activists who want to push through the fairly radical idea that trans women are women in every respect.

Like who, which trans activists are saying that? 

Post edited at 22:31
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Coel Hellier - on 22:31 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> She sued 16 such parlours for not regarding her (male) genitals as "a woman's genitals" and offering her the same service as (other) women.

By the way, a question for those who analyse everything in terms of who is the more "oppressed" and "marginalised":

One of the people this person sued (for not offering the service of removing public hair from male genitals when they were willing to do it for female genitals) was a female, hijab-wearing Muslim lady.   It would be very much against her religious views for her to touch and remove hair from the male genitals of a person unrelated to her.    Yet the "trans women should be treated as women" doctrine would require her to do so. 

So which one has the greater number of "oppression points" to trump the other?   The female (plus 1), non-White (plus 1), Muslim (plus 1) lady, or the white (minus 1), male-bodied (score this zero) person with gender dysphoria (score, plus how many?)?  

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Sir Chasm - on 22:35 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

> Like who, which trans activists are saying that? 

Are you saying transwomen aren't women? Or are you merely asking for the names of transwomen who say they are women?

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Coel Hellier - on 22:36 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

> Like who? 

Read on, the very next line!

"An example of such an activist is ..."

Or, for another example, see

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/11/karen-white-how-manipulative-and-controlling-offender-attacked-again-transgender-prison

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-45825838

It is such people (or so it seems to me) that the poem was aimed at.

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Timmd on 22:42 Fri
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Are you saying transwomen aren't women? Or are you merely asking for the names of transwomen who say they are women?

Neither. I was asking which trans activists say they are women in every aspect, what I was replying to in his post. 

I don't disagree that trans women are women, given that the sense of identity stems from the brain, I think it'd be condescending, arrogant, presumptive, closed minded and probably other things too for me not to grant them the ability to figure out who they are. 

Post edited at 22:44
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Sir Chasm - on 22:45 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

> Neither. I was asking which trans activists say they are women in every aspect, what I was replying to in his post. 

> I don't disagree that trans women are women, given that the sense of identity stems from the brain, I think it'd be condescending, arrogant, presumptive, closed minded and probably other things too for me not to grant them the ability to figure out who they are. 

Are you cool with people not agreeing that transwomen are women? Is it ok to say that?

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Coel Hellier - on 22:50 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The Canadian trans activist "JY" is discussed here:

https://kiwifarms.net/threads/jonathan-yaniv-jessica-yaniv-trustednerd-trustednerd-com-jy-knows-it-jy-british-columbia.49790/

Mergan Murphy (a prominent Canadian feminist) was given a permanent ban from Twitter for remarking "yeah, it's him", confirming that the law suits were by that activist.  

(This amounts to "deliberate misgendering", which is a permanent-ban offense in the eyes of Twitter.  If, however, you are a noted journalist and call for the violent death of children, posting a graphic image with the line: "MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the wood chipper", that does not get you a ban.)

An article by Megan Murphy is here: https://quillette.com/2018/11/28/twitters-trans-activist-decree/

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Timmd on 23:07 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The poem isn't aimed at those two people, though, because they still have male genitalia, and the poem talks about trans women's vaginas going nowhere, or some such.  It's clearly aimed at trans women who have fully transitioned.

Post edited at 23:08
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Jon Stewart - on 23:10 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Context, context, context!   Context really does matter.  

I agree. We've already covered this point about context, which is that the telling off happened when the hairy arsed docker retweeted it, out of its context of feminist debate. You attempted to move the goal posts to discuss it in your preferred context (what might have been a heated twitter debate between some mental, ranty trans activist, and some equally intolerable trans-hating feminist), and oh look, you're about to try exactly the same technique again. Of course, it would unreasonable to find this frustrating.

> And if it were aimed at trans women who were struggling with their bodies and only wanted to make the best of their lives, then again, yes, it would be abusive.

If it was specifically targetted at trans individuals, we'd be getting into harassment territory, rather than posting online abuse.

> It is aimed at the trans activists who want to push through the fairly radical idea that trans women are women in every respect. An example of such an activist...

I don't support radical trans activists. I support the rights of ordinary trans people to be treated with respect. You've read my general views on trans issues in another thread, and they are not aligned with these activists, and you know that (so I don't appreciate references to "far left ideology").

> The poem was written by a feminist activist and was clearly aimed at that sort of trans activist. 

Yes, in that original context it might well have been "abuse - but you were asking for it!". We're not talking about that case, as I've already pointed out.

> As for the re-tweet by the man in question, it would only have been seen by people who had deliberately "followed" that man, where "following" someone on Twitter is a request to receive their opinions.  That's the whole point of Twitter! 

This is the context under discussion. We've no reason to believe it's a debate between a radical trans activist and a radical feminist (aka hairy arsed docker), so let's pass through that smokescreen, please. Now, Twitter isn't private communication, it's posting on a public noticeboard with ways to alert people to what you're posting, including following. If you think it's not appropriate content for public consumption, but you want someone you know to read it, you send it by email/whatsapp, etc. If you want it to be visible to everyone including trans people, you tweet it. 

Had the guy deliberately targeted trans people, it wouldn't have just been posting online abuse, it would be much more like harassment. He posted online abuse. As you say, the context is important, and despite your efforts to misrepresent the context, posting the rhyme on twitter is still abuse.

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Timmd on 23:12 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Context, context, context!   Context really does matter.  

> It is aimed at the trans activists who want to push through the fairly radical idea that trans women are women in every respect.

> An example of such an activist is the Canadian person (a trans woman with male genitals) who phoned up multiple parlours offering a "Brazilian wax" service to women (i.e. the complete removal of all pubic hair), and if they declined to offer the same to this person, owing to their possession of male genitals, then they got sued.  She sued 16 such parlours for not regarding her (male) genitals as "a woman's genitals" and offering her the same service as (other) women.

> Other examples of the line some activists take is that it is "transphobic" for a straight man to not be sexually attracted to someone with male genitals, if that person regards themselves as a woman. 

> The poem was written by a feminist activist and was clearly aimed at that sort of trans activist. 

Now I'm saying you're being disingenuous, too. 

''You're a man.  Your breasts are made of silicone  Your vagina goes nowhere''

The poem isn't clearly aimed at trans people who haven't fully transitioned and still have male genitalia, or even a certain kind of activist, to repeat myself, it is Very Clearly aimed at trans women who have fully transitioned - explicitly so.  

Edit: The 2 people you mention are people who ( I would argue) are trying to redefine male genitalia as female if it's on a male to female trans person who hasn't fully transitioned, which isn't the same thing as arguing that trans women are women in every aspect. 

In my opinion, what you've done, is mis-described who the poem is about, and the two examples you've provided, too.

Post edited at 23:41
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off-duty - on 23:16 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It is such people<b> (or so it seems to me)</b> that the poem was aimed at.

Perhaps you could point out the parts of the poem that demonstrate its directed at a subset of trans activists, rather than just general abuse of transwomen?

Or maybe point out the posts that demonstrate the "hairy a**ed docker" was engaging in the debate that show the context context context that you are claiming?

So far all I've got is an abusive poem and some incoherent "because I've got a daughter" statement.

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Timmd on 23:29 Fri
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Are you cool with people not agreeing that transwomen are women? Is it ok to say that?

If it seemed appropriate I'd put the argument to them about identity coming from the brain ,and mention scientific research looking into brain differences in trans people which appears to indicate that their brains match the gender they desire their bodies to be, but one has to let people have their own opinions in the end. 

Post edited at 23:32
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Jon Stewart - on 23:30 Fri
In reply to Timmd:

What I find hilarious is that usually radical feminists and far-right bigots can't stand the stench of each other. But get them started on how much they hate trans people, and it's embarrassing what you can walk in on... 

Edit. As much as it pains me to explain and add caveats to a joke, I'm not accusing anyone on here of being a far right bigot. Well, clearly the journalist who wrote risible article about the trans twitter thing is. Which is why posting it was a terrible idea.

Post edited at 23:35
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Timmd on 23:36 Fri
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I can actually understand why (some) feminists might feel threatened, given the struggle for women to be recognised in their own right has only recently started to be fruitful in relative terms, why they might feel that the definition of female/the name for who they are is being somehow diluted by the same people they've had to work to define themselves as being different from. 

It's just trans people are paying the price (in the above sense) for something which ultimately isn't their fault, they didn't choose their difficult path.

Post edited at 23:40
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Stichtplate on 23:38 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Sorry Coel but on this one you're completely wrong.

A Hollywood is the complete removal of pubic hair. A Brazilian leaves a narrow, vertical strip.

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Jon Stewart - on 23:56 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> One of the people this person sued (for not offering the service of removing public hair from male genitals when they were willing to do it for female genitals) was a female, hijab-wearing Muslim lady.   It would be very much against her religious views for her to touch and remove hair from the male genitals of a person unrelated to her. 

You were just quoting Jonathan Haidt on how liberals fail to understand conservative views (specifically morality). You're providing a very bad advertisement for how well conservatives understand what left wing people care about.

Perhaps someone will prove me wrong, but I cannot imagine anyone outside the impossibly small circle of trans-feminist-muslim activists somewhere in a US college wanting to engage at any level with this inconsequential drivel.

Post edited at 23:56
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FactorXXX - on 00:57 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Perhaps someone will prove me wrong, but I cannot imagine anyone outside the impossibly small circle of trans-feminist-muslim activists somewhere in a US college wanting to engage at any level with this inconsequential drivel.

Because it essentially mimics what the likes of Stephanie Hayden ultimately want.

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aln - on 01:39 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You were just quoting Jonathan Haidt on how liberals fail to understand conservative views (specifically morality). You're providing a very bad advertisement for how well conservatives understand what left wing people care about.

> Perhaps someone will prove me wrong, but I cannot imagine anyone outside the impossibly small circle of trans-feminist-muslim activists somewhere in a US college wanting to engage at any level with this inconsequential drivel.

Does that apply to all five of the points in the OP? 

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Coel Hellier - on 07:29 Sat
In reply to Stichtplate:

>  Sorry Coel but on this one you're completely wrong.  A Hollywood is the complete removal of pubic hair. A Brazilian leaves a narrow, vertical strip.

I stand corrected! 

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Ridge - on 07:42 Sat
In reply to Stichtplate:

> A Hollywood is the complete removal of pubic hair. 

I'm never watching ‘Bake Off’ again

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marsbar - on 08:01 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> By the way, a question for those who analyse everything in terms of who is the more "oppressed" and "marginalised":

> One of the people this person sued (for not offering the service of removing public hair from male genitals when they were willing to do it for female genitals) was a female, hijab-wearing Muslim lady.   It would be very much against her religious views for her to touch and remove hair from the male genitals of a person unrelated to her.    Yet the "trans women should be treated as women" doctrine would require her to do so. 

> So which one has the greater number of "oppression points" to trump the other?   The female (plus 1), non-White (plus 1), Muslim (plus 1) lady, or the white (minus 1), male-bodied (score this zero) person with gender dysphoria (score, plus how many?)?  

1) Finally an interesting question and point for debate.  

2) Has anyone arrested you for asking this question?  

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TobyA on 08:02 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"Left wingers" "right wingers" blah blah blah. Any research based on such vague terms is likely to be dubious (was this in the US debate or UK or German or what?) and your reporting of it, just like Pan's use of 'the left', just a caricature to suit your own argument.

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Coel Hellier - on 08:03 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I agree. We've already covered this point about context, which is that the telling off happened when the hairy arsed docker retweeted it, out of its context of feminist debate.

First, can you clarify whether you think this retweeting was a matter over which the police should have taken an interest?

You've agreed with me that it was not a crime (and expressed frustration that I keep repeating that) but you seem ok with the police interviewing the man and warning him.  To me, that is only appropriate if it is borderline straying into "crime" territory, with the implication that he should not do similar things in future or else. 

Second, yes, we seem to be agreeing that context matters a lot, and that in some contexts it would be abusive and in other contexts not abusive.

I agree with you that it would be highly inappropriate and abusive to email the poem to a teenager struggling with their identity, or to circulate it at ones work place, or similar.

As for re-tweeting it on Twitter, well, again, that would only lead to it being seen by people who had deliberately "followed" that man, where "following" is a request to receive that person's opinions. 

Yes, anyone else could, in principle, see it, by clicking on that person's Twitter page, or by knowing the exact URL of the Tweet, but it's not like a public notice board where passers by would see it -- in order to see it, any non-follower would have to know it was there and go looking for it. 

In that context I'm sticking to my opinion of "not abusive".

Further, you suggest that the re-tweet was "out of its context of feminist debate", well, if you read that person's twitter feed, he tweets a lot on this issue.  So it's not out of context of the debate, he is a participant in the debate.  I don't see that being male and a "hairy arsed docker" disqualifies one from taking part in such a debate! 

Lastly, you must surely agree that there are contexts where posting the poem is appropriate and not abusive since you have done it yourself, up-thread with added bolding, no less! 

Was that re-posting by you an abusive act, borderline criminal that should get you a ticking off from Off Duty, or was it fair enough in context, deep into a thread that is all about discussing these issues?

A re-tweet on Twitter is generally less visible and much less likely to be stumbled over by passers by than a UKC thread.

[Can I ask, are you a Twitter user? It seems to me that you are over-estimating the "public notice board" nature of a retweet, it really is not something that a casual browser of the internet would stumble over, in order to see it you really would have to specifically ask to see that person's tweets.]

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Coel Hellier - on 08:05 Sat
In reply to TobyA:

> "Left wingers" "right wingers" blah blah blah. Any research based on such vague terms is likely to be dubious (was this in the US debate or UK or German or what?)

The Haidt study was American.  I do agree with you that the terms "left wing" and "right wing" have limited value.  [The Haidt study actually used the terms "conservative" and "liberal", though those also mean different things in the US from the UK.]

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TobyA on 08:22 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

A moment ago it was a Canadian suing beauty parlours now "that type of trans activist" is a British convicted sex offender?!?

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RomTheBear on 08:24 Sat
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Isn't that partly what this thread is about? i.e. the question is being asked whether or not things being reported as Hate Speech are being viewed as such by the Police and CPS, etc. ?

> That would all depend on context and both cases could be either be Hate Speech or not.

Exactly, context, in most situations it will be frankly obvious. Most people with common sense have no problem.

But Coel would have you believed that context doesn’t matter and instead only some kind of absolute freedom of speech is the only thing that works regardless of the consequences, ho, and if that leads to minorities being abused, discriminated, beaten up, or killed, it’s all ok, because they are just « snowflakes », who should « grow some bones » and his freedom to abuse trumps everything.

if you took Coel to a country where white atheists were a demonised minority, his absolutist opinions would change fast, very fast.

Post edited at 08:32
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marsbar - on 08:29 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm going to guess the police haven't been round to Jon's either.  Because CONTEXT.  

Such an infringement on free speech. 《Sarcasm sign》

This whole thread is proof we have it.  Within limits.  You don't like where the limits are drawn. It doesn't mean you can claim we don't have free speech. 

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RomTheBear on 08:31 Sat
In reply to marsbar:

> I'm going to guess the police haven't been round to Jon's either.  Because CONTEXT.  

He doesn’t get « context » because he is stuck in his little pseudo intellectual world completely detached from reality.

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Coel Hellier - on 08:32 Sat
In reply to TobyA:

> A moment ago it was a Canadian suing beauty parlours now "that type of trans activist" is a British convicted sex offender?!?

There is more than one trans activist in the world! Is that really so strange?

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RomTheBear on 08:34 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> One notes that, as usual, Rom is too cowardly to put his name to his taunts.

Poor little special snowflake, why don’t you grow some bones ?

Post edited at 08:34
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marsbar - on 08:35 Sat
In reply to RomTheBear:

Repeating something in the context of a discussion isn't the same as sending it to someone with the intention of upsetting them.  

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RomTheBear on 08:37 Sat
In reply to marsbar:

> Repeating something in the context of a discussion isn't the same as sending it to someone with the intention of upsetting them.  

Well, yes, that’s pretty obvious to most people.

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Coel Hellier - on 08:39 Sat
In reply to RomTheBear:

> if you took Coel to a country where white anti-Muslim atheists were a minority, his absolutist opinions would change fast, very fast.

Actually no, it is exactly in those countries where free speech is most needed (in order to challenge the dominant ideologies). 

That's why the moderates and the reformist Muslims and the ex-Muslims in those countries are the keenest on free speech and the right to critique religion.

And they feel betrayed by those in the West, such as Rom, who won't support their right to speak, and indeed deplore it with "ooh, you Islamophobes, we white people have freedom of religion, yes, but you brown people don't, your culture is to be submissive to your religion, whether you like it or not".

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Coel Hellier - on 08:43 Sat
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Poor little special snowflake, why don’t you grow some bones ?

Have I gone whining to anyone to ask that you be censored?  That's what "snowflakeism" entails. Well, no I haven't.  So your taunt is inappropriate (as well as cowardly, from an anonymous poster).

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marsbar - on 09:12 Sat
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Well, yes, that’s pretty obvious to most people.

and yet we still have people arguing that we can’t debate trans issues for fear of being silenced.  It’s not true. 

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THE.WALRUS - on 09:15 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Can I exercise my right to free speech to suggest that you appear to be a bit of a bell cheese?!

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Coel Hellier - on 09:18 Sat
In reply to THE.WALRUS:

> Can I exercise my right to free speech to suggest that you appear to be a bit of a bell cheese?!

You indeed may! Feel free!

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Coel Hellier - on 09:20 Sat
In reply to marsbar:

> and yet we still have people arguing that we can’t debate trans issues for fear of being silenced.  It’s not true. 

And yet is is true that people debating such issues and disagreeing with radical-trans ideology are getting visited by the police.

And where there is nastiness on both sides, the police interventions do seem rather one-sided.

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TobyA on 09:29 Sat
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The convicted rapist is a trans activist?!

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Jon Stewart - on 09:45 Sat
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Because it essentially mimics what the likes of Stephanie Hayden ultimately want.

So the only person to take the bait and respond is a right winger! Love it!

Can I suggest that you're helping show how the perception of "the left" obsessing over the "oppression Olympics" is a fiction created by US conservatives in response to fringe politics in the US. It's been taken on by some people on here, most notably Pan, but those on the left - those who want good public services, equal rights, etc - simply aren't interested in this rubbish.

So why am I bothering with this whole thread? Because Coel's position that posting online abuse towards trans people is a right that must not be infringed is both ludicrous and if taken seriously would make life worse for people who are already bullied and abused for traits they didn't choose. I'm not defending the "oppression Olympics", I'm defending basic decency against confused political claptrap.

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Coel Hellier - on 09:53 Sat
In reply to TobyA:

> The convicted rapist is a trans activist?!

Well, from the Guardian report:

“She seemed like somebody who was very much going to plough her own furrow regardless of the community advice, and she was going to demand her rights. She insisted people referred to her in her acquired gender without trying terribly hard to present as a woman.

“She would report people for a hate crime if they stumbled over which name to use for her – it was not a way to get yourself absorbed into the community. She was a person who would not compromise.”

And:

“We did not have a problem with her being transgender. We already had another transgender woman living here and we all got on just fine,” the woman said. “She was always calling the police accusing us of hate crimes against her. And then she started getting violent – it was a terrifying time for all of us – we wish she had never been placed here.”

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